A specific type of needle has been developed by Nobuari Takakura and Hiroyoshi Yajima which allows for the blinding of both the Acupuncturist and the patient (double blinding) in Acupuncture based clinical trials.
The so called ‘active’ version of the needle is 0.16mm in diameter and only penetrates to 5mm in depth. The ‘sham’ version does not penetrate the skin at all - it penetrates some stuffing in the bottom of the guide tube and just touches the skin, enough to give some sensation or the impression of needle penetration.
This needle has been validated such that when subjects were told they would receive either ‘real’ needling or ‘placebo’ needling, they could not tell the difference between the two types of needle and were unable to determine which was which.
So when this needle is put to the test in a clinical trialcomparing ‘active’ and ‘sham’ needling do you think there is likely to be a significant difference in pain outcome measures?