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Table 2 Uncertainties during Treatment

From: How the psychosocial context of clinical trials differs from usual care: A qualitative study of acupuncture patients

Setting Uncertainties
Usual Practice "It wasn't instant relief, no, it was a gradual improvement. Like, I think, all alternative medicine, it's you know, it's a big fly reel, you start you don't notice any change but gradually you do start noticing a change and then it can keep you going a long time." (Paul, Private)
  "I don't know how it's suppose to work or what it's doing all I know is that I think it is good for me for whatever reason, I don't know if acupuncture works for everybody or there are certain people it works on or I don't know but certainly for me um...it works." (Jane, Private)
  "I suppose I'm not convinced how much [improvement] is actually related to the acupuncture and how much is just chance, because ... it does go up and down in terms of how bad it is and, you know, it's only 12 days, since I had the first lot, therefore it could just be chance that this is coming to, like, a good bit." (Joanne, Private)
Trial "You never know whether you are getting the right treatment, or if it's a dud you're taking, do you?" (Sidney, receiving placebo needles)
  "I think I would have felt a fraud had it been placebo and there had been this change which there is. I think I'd have thought then there must be a process in my head which...and I didn't like that because again it doesn't fit with my idea of exactness and those sort of things." (Norman, receiving real acupuncture)
  "The only thing that you do think about is - you're having your treatment and you're not sure if you are having something that is supposed to do something or whether you're just having something that's just sticking needles in you..... And you're always a bit hesitant to say "well I think its doing me good" because you've got that feeling that perhaps what you're having done isn't...you know." (Martin, receiving real acupuncture)