Video-Guided Acupuncture Imagery Treatment of Pain

Mechanistic Studies on Video-guided Acupuncture Imagery Treatment of Pain

The aim of this proposal is to investigate brain response and connectivity changes evoked by video-guided acupuncture imagery treatment (VGAIT) and verum and sham acupuncture in healthy and patient populations to elucidate the underlying brain mechanisms of mind-body interaction, imagery, and acupuncture.

No pharmaceutical medication involved
Patients and healthy individuals accepted

Real acupuncture

Verum acupuncture will be applied on the right SP6 and SP9. For each subject, leg position, acupoint location, and needling parameters (1-2 cm depth, 120 rotations / minute, 90Ëš insertion angle, moderate deqi sensations on a 0-10 scale) will be kept constant. For the low dose acupuncture group, needles will be rotated at one point and then the other in 15-second rotations with 20-30 second breaks. The specific starting acupoint will be randomized across subjects but kept consistent for each sub more on

Sham acupuncture

Placebo acupuncture will be applied at two sham points using specially designed sham acupuncture needles [20, 35, 104-106]. The sham needles differ from regular needles by possessing blunt and retractable tips. Instead of penetrating the skin, the point of the Streitberger needle retracts up the handle shaft when the acupuncturist presses it against the skin. This sham device has been validated by studies showing that subjects cannot distinguish between genuine and sham needling [20, 35, 104]. T more on


In Session 1, all patients will first be introduced to acupuncture treatment, particularly the sensation evoked by acupuncture needles. This will be followed by a five-minute acupuncture exposure applied by a licensed acupuncturist. The exposure will include multiple acupuncture needle manipulations across the two acupoints (SP 6 and SP 9) used in this study. The paradigm applied will be identical to real acupuncture treatment, and the procedure will also be video recorded for the following sess more on

VGAIT control

The control condition will be the same as VGAIT, except we will use cotton swabs repeatedly touching at non-acupoints with a frequency of about 1 Hz using the same paradigm of verum / sham acupuncture. They will also read a script describing what they are about to see. Then, VGAIT control will be applied during scanning. We will ask the patient to measure the sensations they feel during treatment using the MASS after treatment.

Mechanistic Studies on Video-guided Acupuncture Imagery Treatment of Pain