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Sham needling


The theory behind different sham needling techniques is to act as a placebo. That means to be inert as a therapeutic tool. There are in the history of acupuncture research several ways of needling examined to act as a placebo.


Acupuncture research:
Two most used:
1. pricking non-acupuncture points on a superficial level.
2. using a telescopic needle= streitberger needle

Ear Acupuncture
1. dwelling in plasters without a needle. (Seirin)

Dry Needling
I am not aware of the sham needling used in Dry Needling research  PTNS(Percutaneous Tibial Nerve Stimulation):
Because subjects with PTNS will feel foot stimulation, the sham was  devised to mimic this feeling without the tibial nerve being stimulated.
The leg and foot were draped and out of view from the subject. The medial aspect of the lower extremity was palpated and the tibial nerve site was identified approximately 5 cm cephalad from the medial malleolus. A Streitberger needle was used at the tibial nerve insertion site as described above to simulate needle placement without puncturing the skin. The needle was taped in place as in the PTNS procedure.

The “grounding pad” was a gel electrode ad from a TENS unit device that was placed on the bottom of the foot just below the smallest toe. Another gel electrode was placed on the top of the foot just above the small toe for conduction. Care was taken to avoid reflexology areas for major organs as the electrode pads were placed. The TENS electrode was connected by lead wires to the Biostim1 M7 TENS unit set at 20 Hz (as in PTNS). The TENS unit was turned on and stimulation was slowly increased to the subject’s first sensory level. Once the subject sensed localized stimulation in the bottom of the foot or toe, the TENS unit was left on for the 15 min test period. Then the TENS unit was removed.


Blunted needle acupuncture devices
1. Streitberger needle
2. Park device
3. Japanese device
4. Foam device

Ear acupuncture
Dwelling in plasters without a needle (Seirin)