Because someone has recommended it - Patients’ reasons for choosing acupuncture or qigong

Klein, Sabine; Wolf, Ursula (2010). Because someone has recommended it - Patients’ reasons for choosing acupuncture or qigong. European journal of integrative medicine, 4(2), p. 198. Elsevier 10.1016/j.eujim.2010.09.055

Question: Recent research has indicated a considerable contribution of placebo effects to the outcome of acupuncture treatments: especially patients’ expectations seem to have an influence [1] and [2]. In this context it is important to better understand the patient–practitioner relationship. The aim of this study was to investigate why patients in Switzerland choose acupuncture or qigong, and what they expect from the treatment and the practitioners [3].

Methods: A qualitative survey with open questions was performed among 38 patients newly enrolled for treatment in 7 different practices for Traditional Chinese Medicine ((TCM); 6 practices for acupuncture, 1 for qigong). Questions aimed to identify reasons for choosing TCM, knowledge about its range of indications, and patients’ expectations towards method and therapist. Answers were categorised and analysed by frequency.

Results: The most common reasons for choosing TCM were recommendation by acquaintances, the idea of trying a new treatment and the perception of TCM as being a gentle method. The majority of respondents had poor knowledge about the range of conditions to be treated with TCM: pain of the musculoskeletal system, headaches and chronic problems were considered as main indications. Surprisingly, gynaecological or gastro-intestinal diseases were not mentioned by the respondents. Practitioners were expected to have professional competence, provide information, empathy and understanding.

Conclusions: The most striking result of this survey was the fact that patients knew very little about TCM and its indications. Thus, more precise information about TCM and other complementary methods should be offered to the general public, which would help patients to decide whether to consider TCM for the treatment of their disease. And, on the other hand, for the therapists it is important to better understand and respond to patients’ expectations in order to achieve better treatment results. The results of this qualitative survey were briefly discussed with the participating practitioners, who found them remarkable and support further quantitative studies. We plan to further investigate this topic.

1. J. Pariente, P. White, R.S.J. Frackowiak, G. Lewith. Neuroimage, 25 (2005), pp. 1161–1167
2. M. Karst, D. Schneidewind, D. Scheinichen. Forsch Komplementmed, 17 (2010), pp. 21–27
3. S.D. Klein. Dt Ztschr f Akup, 52 (2009), pp. 18–23

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Abstract)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Medical Education > Institute of Complementary and Integrative Medicine (IKIM)

UniBE Contributor:

Klein, Sabine and Wolf, Ursula


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:13

Last Modified:

28 Dec 2018 07:36

Publisher DOI:


URI: (FactScience: 206370)

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