Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 7–15

De-qi, not psychological factors, determines the therapeutic efficacy of acupuncture treatment for primary dysmenorrhea

  • Jin Xiong (熊 瑾)
  • Fang Liu (刘 芳)
  • Ming-min Zhang (张明敏)
  • Wei Wang (王 伟)
  • Guang-ying Huang (黄光英)
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11655-011-0857-1

Cite this article as:
Xiong, J., Liu, F., Zhang, M. et al. Chin. J. Integr. Med. (2012) 18: 7. doi:10.1007/s11655-011-0857-1

Abstract

Objective

To study the impact of De-qi (得气, obtaining qi) and psychological factors on the efficacy of acupuncture treatment for primary dysmenorrhea, with an attempt to explore the relationship among De-qi, psychological factors, and clinical efficacy.

Methods

The patients with primary dysmenorrhea were randomly assigned to a group of acupuncture with manual manipulation (manipulation group, n=67) and an acupuncture group without manipulation (non-manipulation group, n=64). Pain intensity and pain duration were used as measures for evaluating the therapeutic efficacy of the acupuncture treatment. De-qi, the sensations a patient experienced during the acupuncture treatment, was scored on a 4-point scale by the subjects. In addition, the psychological factors, including belief in acupuncture, the level of nervousness, anxiety, and depression, were quantitatively assessed. The personality of the subject was assessed using the Eysenck personality questionnaire (EPQ) and 16 personality factor questionnaire (16PF).

Results

Complete data were obtained from 120 patients, 60 patients in each group. There were statistically significant differences in pain intensity (W=2410.0, P<0.01) and pain duration (W=3181.0, P<0.01) between the two groups. The number of De-qi acupoints (W=1150.5, P<0.01) and the average intensity of De-qi (W=1141.0, P<0.01) were significantly higher in the manipulation group as compared with their non-manipulation counterparts. The correlation coefficients between De-qi and therapeutic efficacy of acupuncture were greater than those between psychological factors and therapeutic efficacy.

Conclusions

Compared with the psychological factors, De-qi contributed more to the pain-relieving effect of acupuncture in subjects with primary dysmenorrhea. Moreover, manual manipulation is a prerequisite for eliciting and enhancing the De-qi sensations, and De-qi is critical for achieving therapeutic effects.

Keywords

acupuncture De-qi psychological factors manual acupuncture needle manipulation therapeutic efficacy primary dysmenorrhea 

Copyright information

© Chinese Association of the Integration of Traditional and Western Medicine and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jin Xiong (熊 瑾)
    • 1
  • Fang Liu (刘 芳)
    • 1
  • Ming-min Zhang (张明敏)
    • 1
  • Wei Wang (王 伟)
    • 2
  • Guang-ying Huang (黄光英)
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Integrated Traditional and Western Medicine, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical CollegeHuazhong University of Science and TechnologyWuhanChina
  2. 2.Department of Neurology, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical CollegeHuazhong University of Science and TechnologyWuhanChina