Discrimination accuracy between real and sham needles using the Park sham device in the upper and lower limbs

Chee Wee Tan*, Padraig Sheehan, Derek Santos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective
To evaluate the blinding effectiveness of the Park sham acupuncture device using participants' ability to discriminate between the real and sham acupuncture needles in the (1) upper limb (TE points) compared with pure guessing and (2) lower limb (BL points) compared with pure guessing. 

Methods
20 healthy acupuncture-naïve university students and staff were recruited through convenience sampling. Participants made Yes-No judgements on whether the real or sham needle was administered to four TE acupoints on the dominant upper limb, and four acupoints along the BL meridian on the dominant lower limb. The proportion of correct judgements, P(C), for each participant was calculated to indicate the discrimination accuracy of participants in distinguishing between the real and sham needles. Separate P(C) were computed for the upper limb acupoints and lower limb acupoints. The data were also pooled to calculate a P(C) for a combination of both body regions. 

Results 

The participants' discrimination accuracy between the real and sham needles was not statistically signifi cant from P(C)=0.5 (chance level) for the lower limb alone and combined body regions' acupoint comparisons (lower limb: t 19=0.00, unadjusted p=1.00; combined: t19=1.75, unadjusted p=0.10). However, the participants' discrimination accuracy was statistically signifi cant from P(C)=0.5 for the upper limb acupoints alone comparison (t 19=2.36, unadjusted p=0.03).

Conclusions 

This study showed that the Park sham device is more likely to blind participants in differentiating between the real and sham needles in the lower limb (BL meridian) acupoints than in the upper limb (TE meridian). However, the participants' ability to differentiate between the needle types for the upper limb acupoints was signifi cantly different from chance levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)208-214
Number of pages7
JournalAcupuncture in Medicine
Volume29
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Clinical Neurology

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