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Table 2 Details of the acupuncture treatment in items structured according to the STRICTA[27]reporting guidelines, an official extension to CONSORT

From: Acupuncture for irritable bowel syndrome: primary care based pragmatic randomised controlled trial

STRICTA item Details of acupuncture treatment within the trial
1. a) Style Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
 b) Reasoning for treatment provided Systematic review by Lim [4] and pragmatic design to evaluate acupuncture as provided in routine care.
 c) Variation Individualized treatments using common TCM theoretical frameworks: primarily zang-fu syndromes (used with 99% of patients), and also qi, blood and body fluids, eight principles, five elements, and external pathogenic factors.
2. a) Number of needles per treatment On average 14 needles were inserted per session (range: 4 – 23) using an average of seven point locations (range 5 to 9).
 b) Names 126 different points were used. A common core of points, LI 4, LR 3, ST 36, SP 6, were used in over 50% of treatments.
 c) Depth of insertion Average depth was 1.5 cm (range: 0.2 – 5 cm).
 d) Response sought The response sought varied, most commonly de qi.
 e) Needle stimulation Manual.
 f) Retention Average 20 min (range: few seconds to 30 min).
 g) Needle type Most common length was 25 mm (range: 15–40 mm) and diameter 0.20 mm (range: 0.30 to 0.16 mm).
3. a) Number of sessions Patients were offered 10 sessions and completed an average of 9 sessions.
 b) Frequency & duration Usually once a week over 12 weeks.
4. a) Other components of treatment Acupuncturists were allowed to use cupping, moxa, brief tui-na, brief acupressure, breathing, and ear seeds. The most commonly used was moxa (used with 13% of patients), brief tui na (9%) and brief acupressure (6%). Herbs & magnets were prohibited. Acupuncturists were allowed to provide lifestyle advice as part of the patient’s treatment consistent with their routine practice, with a restriction against probiotics. In total 68% of patients received lifestyle advice, most commonly diet (56%), stress reduction and relaxation (24%) and exercise (6%).
b) Setting and context Provision or treatments in independent clinics. Acupuncturists encouraged to practice as closely as possible as they normally would.
5. Participating acupuncturists British Acupuncture Council members, with more than three years post-qualification experience. Predominant treatment style: Traditional Chinese Medicine.
6. Control or comparator interventions Patients in both groups continued to receive their usual care from their general practitioner, as well as over-the-counter treatments according to need. This allowed us to evaluate the impact of acupuncture as an adjunct to usual care. A summary of usual care actually received in both arms are provided in the main text.