Dysmenorrhoea patients that experience a ‘deqi’ needling sensation demonstrate larger reductions in pain relative to those who do not, according to a Chinese study. Eighty-eight patients with primary dysmenorrhoea were randomly assigned to either deqi or no deqi groups, and received acupuncture at Sanyinjiao SP-6 for 30 minutes. The deqi group received deep needling with manipulation, using thick needles, while the no deqi group received shallow needling with no manipulation, using thin needles. After the treatment, both groups showed reductions in pain scores, with no significant differences between the groups. In the deqi group, 43 out of 43 patients reported experiencing the deqi sensation, compared with 25 out of 45 patients in the no deqi group. Independent of original group allocation, reductions in pain scores were significantly greater in those patients who reported experiencing deqi, compared with those that did not, suggesting that deqi leads to greater analgesic effects.
Influence of de qi on the immediate analgesic effect of SP6 acupuncture in patients with primary dysmenorrhoea and cold and dampness stagnation: a multicentre randomised controlled trial. Acupunct Med. 2017 Jul 11. pii: acupmed-2016-011228.