During its more than 2,600-year history, acupuncture has become integral to Chinese medical practice. Little needles are inserted into the skin at strategic areas to promote healing. But, not all needles are the same when it comes to acupuncture.
Needles used in acupuncture are distinct from the hypodermic needles often used in medical procedures. The hollow hypodermic needle pierces the skin. Acupuncture needles, conversely, are solid and hair-thin, with a diameter of between 0.12 and 0.35 millimeters.
The needles are normally between half an inch and two inches in length, and they are constructed of stainless steel. Needles for acupuncture can be put at various depths, tailoring the procedure to the individual patient’s condition and the desired outcome.
Some acupuncture needles come with a tube that lets the practitioner push the needle into the skin more efficiently, while others are inserted manually and need a steady hand. In addition, it is common practice for certain acupuncturists to use electrical stimulation to supplement the needles’ therapeutic benefits.
One can use single-use or reusable needles during an acupuncture treatment. Reusable needles are sanitized between uses, while disposable needles are used only once and thrown away.
Needles used in acupuncture may look scary, but patients typically feel minimal discomfort during treatment. Acupuncture needles are solid rather than hollow, so they won’t pierce the skin like an injection or blood draw would. Mild tingling or numbness at the needle insertion site is the most typical reaction to acupuncture.
Acupuncture needles are firm, thin, and composed of stainless steel. They come in various lengths and styles, and their purpose is to aid the body in its recuperative processes. Moreover, when performed by a trained acupuncturist, they cause no discomfort and pose no health risks.