When most people think about acupuncture, the first thing that comes to their mind is needles. What few people realize, however, is exactly how different acupuncture needles are from the needles that you would find at your doctor’s office. In this article, we’ll examine the types of needles that are used in acupuncture to give you a better understanding of the acupuncture procedure and lessen the amount of fear that you may have regarding the procedure. You will also learn what you should look for when you are having acupuncture performed in order to ensure that you are getting the utmost quality when it comes to the types of needles that are being used.
Acupuncture needles are, as a rule of thumb, made of stainless steel. They are much different than the needles that are attached to syringes that you would find at the hospital. Syringe needles are relatively wide in diameter, since they need to have a hollow center in order for the drugs from the syringe to be pushed into the body. Acupuncture needles, by contrast, are very thin. While there are several different sized thicknesses for acupuncture, they most often range from a diameter of .16 millimeters to .25 millimeters. Since the needles are so thin, some people report not feeling any pain at all when they are inserted. Some feel a sort of electrical tingle when the needles are placed. As far as length goes, there are many different lengths available when it comes to acupuncture needles. Needles that are placed in thin parts of the body, such as the hand, may be relatively short, approximately a half inch in length. Some of the acupuncture points on the body require a much longer needle, however, such as the points that are located deep within the muscles of the leg. For these points, the acupuncturist may use needles that are as long as two inches.
One thing that you need to know when it comes to visiting an acupuncturist is that hygiene is very important. You should ensure that the acupuncturist that you are visiting is only using needles that are sterilized and brand new. Most acupuncture needles come individually wrapped and sealed, so be sure to watch your acupuncturist remove the needles from the packaging in order to ensure proper hygiene.
While the lower half of an acupuncture needle is a straight line, the top half of the needle is often wound with a type of wire in order to ensure that the acupuncturist can maintain a proper grip. If the needles do not have this type of winding at the top, the acupuncturist is less likely to be able to maintain a proper hold on the needle and you run a risk of him or her slipping with the needle.
For those who fear needles, acupuncture can be a scary procedure. However, once you realize that the needles used in acupuncture are much different than traditional medical needles, you can be put at ease when it comes to undergoing the procedure.