Acupuncture Needles: Essential for the Success of Acupuncture Treatments
Posted: Apr 25, 2020
Originated in China more than 2000 years ago, acupuncture is now very popular in the West. It is a form of alternative medicine and an essential part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It involves insertion of thin needles into skin to alleviate pain, reduce discomfort as well as lower the stress levels. It is known to treat several physical, mental and emotional conditions and help patients with a variety of diseases.
Acupuncture is a safe technique when done by trained and experienced TCM practitioners and acupuncturists. It includes the use of thin, metallic needles to stimulate skin tissues and activate the body’s natural healing response.
Experts suggest that nine different types of acupuncture needles were used in the ancient era. Often called the Nine Classical Needles, the list included filiform needle, shear needle, round-pointed needle, spoon needle, lance needle, round-sharp needle, stiletto needle, long needle and big needle.
However, today modern acupuncture needles are slightly different than the ancient needles. Let’s take a look at the most popular acupuncture needles among acupuncturists.
1. Filiform Needles
The filiform needle is most commonly used by practitioners. It is a metal needle as thin as a single thread. Unlike hypodermic needles, acupuncture needles are not hollow.
They come in different diameters and lengths according to the area of insertion. Usually, the diameter of the filiform needle can be anything between 0.12mm-0.35mm. The lengths vary from 7mm to 100mm. However, manufacturers sell a wide variety depending on the needs of the acupuncturists.
Smaller, thinner needles are used for areas near the face, eyes and ears. Thin needles risk breakage and so usually require a tube for efficient insertion. For body areas with thicker skin tissues, longer needles are used.
Filiform acupuncture needles come with different types of handles such as plastic, copper, metal, spring, etc. Your choice of the handle depends on your preference and the acupuncture treatment.
2. Lancets/Bleeding Needles/ Three-Edged Needles
The three-edged acupuncture needles are called lancets or lance needles because they look like small, tiny lances. Lancet needles have triangular edge with sharp tip for insertion. They are also called bleeding needles because acupuncturists often use them to remove blood from certain acupuncture points in the body. They prick the body to reopen orifices, remove heat and ensure optimum blood flow (blood stasis). It is often used in conditions such as fever, strokes, throat problems, headaches, joint stiffness, etc.
Different types of lancet devices are available on the market. You can use an acupuncture needle in the handheld acupuncture lancet pen and use it to poke a small hole in the body.
3. Plum Blossom Needles/Seven Star Needles
Plum blossom needles contain a group of seven filiform needles that are arranged in the shape of a blossoming flower on the head of the device. It has a long handle that is often flexible for effortless handling. Because of its shape, it is also called seven star acupuncture needles.
The needles are often used by acupuncturists for a technique called "needle tapping" or "cutaneous needling". It is suggested in conditions such as GI problems, numbness, hypertension, insomnia, shortsightedness, etc. Plum blossom needles are also used by acupuncturists for those patients that have Trypanophobia (the fear of needles).
4. Intradermal Needles
The intradermal needles are very tiny and are often used for specific regions of the body, such as the ears or the face. Practitioners use intracutaneous needles to prick the skin at a very shallow depth. It is kept in the patient’s skin for a long time to enhance the benefits of the acupuncture therapy. Intradermal needles are covered with surgical tapes to keep them in exact place. The intradermal needles are commonly available in two options: 1) The straight intradermal needles and 2) press tacks/press needles.
Intradermal needles are used for treating certain types of nausea, stomachache, headache, bruises, pain, etc. They are considered a great tool to tonify the qi (chi or the energy flow of the body).
5. Ear Seeds
According to auricular therapy, ears have several acupuncture points that can reflect the entire body. Ear seeds are typically made of vaccaria seeds which is commonly used in TCM practices. However, many times ear seeds are also made up of metal, ceramic, etc.
With ear seeds, the practitioner will press the acupuncture points in the ear. With the help of adhesive tape, ear seeds can remain in the position for a long time. The treatment is used to regulate the nervous system and sharpen the reflexes of the body. Other uses of the ear seeds include alleviation of pain, anxiety, PTSD, etc. It also helps in weight loss, improves sleep patterns, optimizes digestion, etc.
Acupuncture needles may seem to be a very tiny instrument. However, the right type of acupuncture needles and the correct technique of the acupuncturist can alleviate pain and improve the wellbeing of the patient.
The Wabbo Company promises the best-in-class, high-quality acupuncture needles for your practice. Find all types of needles from the world’s best brands including Seirin acupuncture needles, Silverstar needles, Unisharp needles and more.
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