Background: Neural Therapy (NT) is a common complementary treatment approach using injections with shortacting local anesthetics to treat pain and chronic diseases. However, little is known about the underlying mechanisms and the domains of treatment response. This study therefore, analyzed patient experiences following NT injections with procaine.
Methods: Maximum variation sampling was used to collect data from semi-structured interviews conducted with 22 hospital inpatients aged 59.6 ± 14.9 years (81.8% female). Each had multiple (9.4 ± 6.9) diagnoses. They were undergoing two weeks of integrative treatment, which included individualized NT. The interview data were analyzed in MAXQDA using qualitative content analysis.
Results: With injection, patients first described local anesthetic effects including temporary blocking of pain and increased local warmth. Second, patients reported on vegetative reactions frequently leading to turmoil within the body like initial aggravation of existing symptoms or the appearance of new, concealed or phantom symptoms. This often required the need for rest to deal with the treatment stimulus. As a third step, many patients could gain physical and emotional release and relief in symptoms, mood and functioning. Emotional release was often accompanied by weeping and initially overwhelmed affected patients with dissociated memories. However, in cases where patients were able to experience those memories with a new distance, a fourth step of integration was achievable. It included reframing processes as well as a gain in pain perception and body-awareness. As a possible fifth step, patients experienced improved mood, increased pain acceptance and empowerment. Adverse events of NT included pain from the injections, vegetative complaints and emotional turmoil that lasted for minutes or hours, with a maximum of two days.
Conclusions: Patients treated with procaine injections reported different psychophysiological outcomes contributing to the understanding of the mechanisms underlying NT. Further efficacy studies should separate specific NT from non-specific/placebo effects.

Keywords: Neural therapy, Procaine, Chronic Disease, Body Image, Emotions, Qualitative Research

See complete article (PDF Free)