Historical and Clinical Perspectives on De Qi:  Exposing Limitations in the Scientific Study of 
De Qi.

Birch S.
J Altern Complement Med. 2014 Nov 25. 
A recent review of scientific studies on “de qi” suggests that qualitative and quantitative studies have primarily or exclusively focused on patient-based experiences of the “de qi” sensation, rather than practitioner-based aspects.
“De qi” refers to a certain sensation that a patient and/or practitioner experiences following needle insertion and manipulation that indicates that the acupuncture point’s energetics have been activated. The review of these “de qi” experiences, by Birch (2014), was published online in November 2014 inJournal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine.
Within the review, the author discusses a variety of studies on “de qi,” including attempts to focus on the sensation created with manual, electrical, and laser stimulation, and a variety of pain scales that have been developed. He notes that studies to date have missed essential aspects of the “de qi” experience by neglecting the practitioner’s experience of the sensation.
The author writes, “If research on bothde qiand acupuncture in general are to make further headway, it will be necessary to study practitioner aspects ofde qi, starting with qualitative studies to define these aspects more clearly and then clinical and physiological studies to examine their effects within treatment.”

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