Medical Research

Acupuncture Dosage and Pain

Kristen Sparrow • June 21, 2015

statue of Kuan Lin
Kuan Lin
Goddess of Compassion
“She who hears the cries of the world”

This is background for an article from Acupuncture Today rebutting a negative acupuncture study from Australia on Knee Acupuncture.  The article is not yet available online.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(10): e77438.
Published online 2013 Oct 11. doi:  10.1371/journal.pone.0077438
PMCID: PMC3795671
Characteristics of Acupuncture Treatment Associated with Outcome: An Individual Patient Meta-Analysis of 17,922 Patients with Chronic Pain in Randomised Controlled Trials
Hugh MacPherson,1,* Alexandra C. Maschino,2 George Lewith,3 Nadine E. Foster,4 Claudia Witt,5 Andrew J. Vickers,2 and on behalf of the Acupuncture Trialists’ Collaboration
We found little evidence of important effects on pain outcomes associated with different characteristics of acupuncture or acupuncturists, including style of acupuncture, the frequency or duration of sessions, patient-practitioner interactions or the years of experience of the acupuncturists. Increased number of needles and more sessions appear to be associated with better outcomes when comparing acupuncture to non-acupuncture controls. This suggests that the dose of acupuncture is important. Trials designed to evaluate the potentially small differences in outcome associated with different acupuncture or acupuncturist characteristics are likely to require large sample sizes. There is room for a diversity of practice in acupuncture, and no strong evidence that such diversity leads to some patients receiving sub-optimal outcomes.