Needles used in acupuncture differ greatly from the more commonly known hypodermic needles associated with Western medicine. The biggest difference is Western medicine uses thick, hollow, serrated tipped needles to either pull something out or put something into the body. With acupuncture, very thin, sterile, stainless steel needles are used to encourage the body’s own natural immune and healing responses.
Will the acupuncture needles hurt?
Needles conjure up fear for a lot of Americans. This fear is usually based on a bad experience caused from the business end of a hypodermic needle administered by a nurse, doctor, or phlebotomist. This is understandable since a hypodermic needle has a hollow serrated tip which is designed to rip and tear flesh in order to inject or remove a fluid. In contrast, acupuncture needles are solid shafts that are smooth down to the microscopic level and most will even fit inside the barrel of their western counterparts. Since there is no fluid to inject with acupuncture needles, most patients experience a small prick like that of a half-second long mosquito bite and then the pain, if any, subsides. After the insertion of an acupuncture needle, a patient may experience nothing, pressure on the skin, or a dull throbbing ache. Once all of the needles are in, patients usually begin to feel more relaxed and quite often forget that the needles are even there.
Can acupuncture needles spread disease?
No! Only disposable, one-time-use needles are used. Sterilization procedures for other instruments protect against the transfer of AIDS, hepatitis, and other viral and infectious diseases.
Mountain Spirit Acupuncture uses a very gentle needling technique. Although people experience different levels of sensitivity, we will work very closely with you to make sure your experience is comfortable and positive. Once the needles are in, the patient is then left to rest for 20-50 minutes. Patients often even fall asleep before removal of the needles.
Acupuncture Points and Placement
In general acupuncture points are located near blood vessels, nerves, and the intersection of planes of fascia tissue. The ancient Chinese texts account for 361 points on one side of the body that lies along the JingMai or longitudinal blood vessel system. In addition, there are 52 points that run up and down the mid-line, 40 “extra” points which don't directly relate to the vessel system, approximately 200 points within each ear (known as auricular acupuncture), and a few dozen zones across the scalp which are used in the specific treatment of motor and sensory related diseases including stroke. In general, the most commonly used points lie from the elbows out and the knees down due to the concentration of nerve bundles and blood vessels that exists within the extremities. Most points are located through palpation and occasionally by tenderness.