FRIDAY, Aug. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Sham acupuncture is as
effective as traditional Chinese acupuncture in the treatment of
patients with knee osteoarthritis, a new study states.
It also found that the communication style of the acupuncturist
could have a significant impact on pain reduction and patient
satisfaction, said the researchers at the M.D. Anderson Cancer
Center in Houston.
The study included 455 patients with knee osteoarthritis who
received either traditional Chinese acupuncture(TCA) or sham
acupuncture treatments; 72 healthy controls also participated in
the research. The acupuncturists were trained to interact with
patients in one of two communication styles -- high expectations
("I've had a lot of success with treating knee pain") or neutral
expectations ("It may or may not work for you").
The patients in the TCA and sham acupuncture groups experienced
similar substantial reductions in reported levels of knee pain,
compared to the control group that received no treatment. The
researchers also found that pain reduction was significantly higher
for patients in the "high expectations" group than those in the
"We saw a small but significant effect on pain and satisfaction with treatment, demonstrating a placebo effect related to the clinicians' communications style," said Dr. Maria Suarez-Almazor in a press release.
"The improvement in pain and satisfaction suggests that the benefits of acupuncture may be partially mediated through placebo effects related to the behavior of the acupuncturist," she concluded.
The study appears online and in the September print issue of the
Arthritis Care & Research.
The U.S. National Center for Complementary and Alternative
Medicine has more about