Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Tapping into Happiness: A Pilot Study on Improving Psychological Wellbeing through Vibrational Stimulation of Acupuncture Points
by Riach, Duncan Andrew, Ph.D., Sofia University, 2017, 113; 10620810
Abstract (Summary)

Acupuncture, involving insertion of fine needles into points on the body associated with energy flow through channels called meridians, has been used for 1000s of years to treat both physical and psychological conditions. Meridian therapies, such as Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) that involve percussive stimulation, or tapping, of the acupuncture points, have been developed to enable individuals to self-treat conditions ranging from headaches to depression. This mixed methods pilot study tested the hypothesis that vibrational stimulation of acupuncture points in the hand would increase psychological wellbeing, as measured by decreases in depressive and anxious symptoms, and increase in satisfaction with life. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of a device to automatically vibrationally stimulate the acupuncture points in the hand was used to test this hypothesis. Twelve participants, with moderate symptoms of depression as measured by the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II), were recruited from across the US and randomly assigned to using an active device (treatment) or to using an inactive device (control). Devices were used for 26 minutes per day, for 7 days of treatment. Measures were taken at pretest, posttest, and at follow-up 14 days afterwards. Participants were each paid $100 on completion of study. Trends in data could be interpreted as supporting the main hypothesis, although this pilot study showed no statistically significant interaction between time and group, resulting in the null hypothesis not being rejected. However, there was a main effect over time, when both groups were taken together. Mean depression (BDI-II) and satisfaction with life (SWLS) scores were found to improve between pretest and posttest, and the effect persisted to follow-up. Results of this pilot study warrant a larger study, with more participants, to investigate the interaction effect using sufficient experimental power. Suggestions are given to construct it, building on lessons learned from this pilot study.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Luskin, Fred
Commitee: Church, Dawson, Gallo, Fred P.
School: Sofia University
Department: Residential Clinical Psychology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 79/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Psychology, Clinical psychology
Keywords: Acupressure, Acupuncture, Depression, Emotional Freedom Techniques, Energy psychology, Tapping
Publication Number: 10620810
ISBN: 9780355172447
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