Listed in Issue 217


JAKES and COLLEAGUES, School of Health Sciences, University of Canterbury , Christchurch, New Zealand conducted a systematic review of studies on  acupuncture patients' health beliefs and treatment experiences.



The search was conducted using CINAHL, PubMed, Ovid MEDLINE, ISI Web of Science, and PsychINFO for qualitative and mixed-methods studies expressing the voice of acupuncture patients. Reference lists of relevant articles were also searched. The review was restricted to studies published in English. Data collection and analysis: Study selection, quality appraisal, and data extraction were performed sequentially. Quality was appraised using the Joanna Briggs Institute Qualitative Assessment and Review Instrument, and the Dedoose mixed methods tool was used in data management and analysis.


Four overarching themes were identified: reasons for using acupuncture, treatment experiences, treatment outcomes, and therapeutic model.


Patients' reasons for using acupuncture are diverse and include dissatisfaction with conventional medicine and attraction to holistic and empowering models of healthcare. Treatment is thought to relieve symptoms of the presenting concern and a range of other effects that improve well-being. This review highlights the need to improve understanding of patients' health-seeking behaviours and how individually meaningful treatment outcomes may be understood and assessed, particularly within complementary and alternative medicine.


Jakes D, Kirk R and Muir L. A Qualitative Systematic Review of Patients' Experiences of Acupuncture. J Altern Complement Med. 2014 Jul 29. [Epub ahead of print]

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