Deqi sensation in placebo acupuncture: A crossover study on chinese medicine students

Zhao Hui Liang, Chang Cai Xie, Zi Ping Li, Xiao Ping Zhu, Aiping LYU*, Wen Bin Fu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Objective. To evaluate the similarity of deqi sensation of real and noninvasive placebo acupuncture in healthy people with knowledge of Chinese medicine. Methods. In a crossover design, volunteers recruited from Chinese medicine college students were randomized to two groups to receive two phases of intervention with a one-week washout interval. In Group A, the participants were firstly treated by real acupuncture and then by sham needle, and the treatment sequence was reversed in Group B. VAS for pain intensity and deqi sensation was evaluated as outcomes. Results. Sixty-three volunteers were recruited and 60 were included and finished the study. In Group A, VAS was higher in Phase I than in Phase II (P=0.017). Only treatment methods were selected as factor to VAS difference (P=0.046) in ANOVA test. More positive deqi was reported in Group A in Phase I when treated by real acupuncture (P=0.039), but the difference was not significant in Phase II (P=0.301). Conclusion. The noninvasive placebo acupuncture device can effetely simulate the deqi sensation as real acupuncture, but it is less likely to evoke the active effect of deqi in real practice. This trial is registered with Chinese Clinical Trial Registry: ChiCTR-ORC-09000505.

Original languageEnglish
Article number620671
JournalEvidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine


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