Background. The rubber hand illusion (RHI) is an experimental paradigm that manipulates important aspects of body self-awareness. Objectives. We were interested in whether modifying bodily self-awareness by manipulation of body ownership and visual expectations using the RHI would change the subjective perception of pain as well as the autonomic response to acupuncture needle stimulation. Methods. Acupuncture needle stimulation was applied to the real hand during the RHI with (experiment 1) or without (experiment 2) visual expectation while measuring concurrent autonomic changes such as the skin conductance response (SCR). Subjective responses such as perception of the RHI and perceived pain were measured by questionnaires. Results. In experiment 1, the amplitude of the increase in SCR was visibly higher during the synchronous session compared with that of the asynchronous session. In experiment 2, the amplitude of the increase of SCR was lower for the synchronous session compared with that for the asynchronous session. Comparing these two experiments, the visual expectation of needle stimulation produced a greater autonomic response to acupuncture stimulation. Conclusions. Our findings suggest that the sympathetic response to acupuncture needle stimulation is primarily influenced by visual expectation rather than by modifications of body ownership.
|Journal||Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine|
|Publication status||Published - 2013 May 13|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Complementary and alternative medicine