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Training in self-needling and performing it as part of a clinical trial: the practitioner and patient experience
  1. Joy Bardy1,2,
  2. Peter Mackereth2,
  3. Jennifer Finnegan-John3,
  4. Alexander Molassiotis1
  1. 1School of Nursing, Social Work & Midwifery, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
  2. 2The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester, UK
  3. 3Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery, Kings College London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Peter Mackereth, Complementary Health & Wellbeing Services, c/o The Rehabilitation Unit, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, Wilmslow Rd, Manchester M20 4BX, UK; Peter.Mackereth{at}


Objective To explore the experience of training and performing self-needling from both the practitioners’ and patients’ perspective.

Methods A qualitative study was conducted using focus groups and interviews, nested within our multi-site randomised controlled trial, Acupuncture for Cancer-Related Fatigue in Patients with Breast Cancer. Patients allocated to self-needling across two UK study sites and all therapists who were involved in the trial were invited to participate. The interviews/focus groups were then transcribed verbatim and analysed thematically by the process of content analysis.

Results Of the 67 eligible patients, 8 (12%) contributed to the focus groups and 15 practitioners (100%), contributed to the study by either attending a focus group or being interviewed. Themes identified for patients included: the allocation to self-needling, teaching techniques and practical considerations and whether they would self-needle again. Themes identified for practitioners included: views on self-needling, teaching self-needling and future implications of self-needling.

Conclusions Self-needling was found to be acceptable to, and manageable by, patients, and enthusiastically adopted by most practitioners. Methods of teaching self-needling need to be developed and evaluated with guidelines recommended for best practice.


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