Saturday, November 25, 2006

Beyond needling-therapeutic processes in acupuncture care: a qualitative study nested within a low-back pain trial.

This is an interesting report because it gets at the complexity of the relationship between the acupuncture practitioner (myself) and the patient. This kind of qualitative analysis is part of the reason why acupuncture may be sought after. Never mind that it is about a back pain intervention. It could be about any condition. Keep in mind that most acupuncture studies about a particular condition do not take into account doctor-patient communication and instead focus on the intervention alone.
Six acupuncturists who treated up to 25 patients each were interviewed after the treatment phase of the trial to obtain an account of their experiences of providing acupuncture care to patients with low back pain referred by their GP. Using semistructured interviews and a topic guide, data were collected and analyzed for both a priori and emergent themes....

Study participants confirmed the importance of three processes that characterized acupuncture care in this trial, each contributing to the goal of a positive long-term outcome; building a therapeutic relationship; individualizing care; and facilitating the active engagement of patients in their own recovery. Acupuncturists described elements of care that characterized these processes including establishing rapport, facilitating communication throughout the period of care, using an interactive diagnostic process, matching treatment to the individual patient, and the use of explanatory models from Chinese medicine to aid the development of a shared understanding of the patient's condition and to motivate lifestyle changes that reinforce the potential for a recovery of health. Acupuncturists did not view these therapeutic goals, processes, and strategies as a departure from their usual practice.