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Debate – patients should be encouraged to treat themselves
  1. Anthony Campbell, medical acupuncturist
  1. London, UK, ac{at}acampbell.org.uk
  1. Val Hopwood

    Abstract

    In favour of self-acupuncture, this is a useful way to prolong the effects of acupuncture when the response is only brief or patients cannot attend frequently. If the patient is capable and the condition is suitable for self-acupuncture, patients can be taught how to do it and then seen for review. Patients should be provided with complete information sheets, and one example is presented. Against self-acupuncture, patient safety is paramount and would be compromised by teaching them how to do acupuncture. In addition, serious accidents have happened with self-acupuncture, including a death. Other arguments against it are that it is less effective than standard acupuncture, the patient misses out on the therapeutic relationship, and safer alternative methods exist.

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