‘I’m not too bad with needles’: a qualitative service evaluation of chronic pain patients’ experiences of self-acupuncture

Hughes, John G. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4513-2395 and Davy, Catrina (2020) ‘I’m not too bad with needles’: a qualitative service evaluation of chronic pain patients’ experiences of self-acupuncture. European Journal of Integrative Medicine, 35. p. 101106. ISSN 1876-3820

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Introduction: Self-acupuncture involves teaching patients to insert acupuncture needles into points on their own body to enable them to self-manage their own symptoms. As part of their routine clinical care, chronic pain patients receiving a course of acupuncture at the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine, UK, were provided with training in self-acupuncture. A qualitative service evaluation was conducted to explore patients’ experiences of applying self-acupuncture, including perceived safety, effectiveness and practice.

Methods: The evaluation adopted a qualitative approach. Fifteen semi-structured interviews were conducted with chronic pain patients to explore their experiences of self-acupuncture. Interviews were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim. Transcripts were analysed using thematic analysis.

Results: Analysis of qualitative data revealed all patients had been able to successfully apply self-acupuncture, with no serious incidents of adverse events reported. Patients perceived self-acupuncture as assisting them to manage their symptoms of pain, though effects were perceived as less pronounced than when acupuncture was administered by a trained practitioner. Patients felt more empowered after learning self-acupuncture, and reported improvements to their lifestyle and quality of life. All patients indicated they would recommend self-acupuncture to other chronic pain patients.

Conclusions: The data from the qualitative service evaluation suggests self-acupuncture is perceived by patients as a safe, feasible, and effective intervention to enable them to self-manage their symptoms of pain. Additional research is warranted to investigate this promising self-care technique further.

Item Type: Article
Identifier: 10.1016/j.eujim.2020.101106
Keywords: acupuncture; self-acupuncture; self-management; chronic pain; qualitative research
Subjects: Medicine and health > Person centered care
Medicine and health > Clinical medicine
Medicine and health > Complementary medicine
Depositing User: John G. Hughes
Date Deposited: 01 May 2020 10:32
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2024 16:02
URI: https://repository.uwl.ac.uk/id/eprint/6879


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