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Vol. 15, No. 6, 2008
Issue release date: December 2008
Forsch Komplementmed 2008;15:321–326

An Exploratory Pilot Study to Design and Assess the Credibility of a Sham Kinesiology Treatment

Hall S. · Lewith G. · Brien S. · Little P.
Complementary Medicine Research Unit, School of Medicine, University of Southampton, United Kingdom

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Introduction: Kinesiology is a complementary therapy assessing subtle change in manual muscle testing results to select individualised treatments. We report the exploratory 2-stage development and pilot of a sham kinesiology treatment for use in a clinical trial to evaluate the specific effects of this intervention. Aims: 1. To design, pilot and assess the credibility of a sham kinesiology treatment in a kinesiology-aware population. 2. To pilot the sham kinesiology in a cross-over study of sham versus real kinesiology, and to make an exploratory assessment of its credibility in a kinesiology-naïve population. Methods: 1. 10 kinesiology-aware volunteers received a specially designed sham treatment weekly for 5 weeks which was subject to a credibility assessment. 2. 10 kinesiology-naïve patients with low back pain were randomised to receive 4 real and 4 sham treatments in a cross-over design; the treatments were subject to a credibility assessment. Results: 100% of participants found the sham protocol a credible treatment as measured by the credibility questionnaire. 100% of patients having real treatment first did not recognise that the second set of treatments were sham. Small numbers precluded the use of formal statistical tests. Conclusion: In this small sample it appeared feasible to deliver an apparently credible sham kinesiology treatment. This feasibility study has allowed us to develop a sham treatment for use in a larger prospective clinical trial of kinesiology in patients with low back pain.

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