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The Needles used in Acupuncture

The acu-puncture needles used by acupuncture are sterile and are disposed of after each treatment.

During acupuncture treatment, most patients feel little sensation on needle insertion due to the fineness of the needle's point. Acupunc-ture needles simply separate the tissues with their sharp conical points. After insertion the patient may feel sensations of heaviness, dullness, tingling, or warmth. This is an indication that the Qi in the meridian has been tapped. These sensations may be localized at the insertion site or may be felt traveling along the course of the acupuncture me-ridian. This sensation is traditionally called obtaining Qi or "deQi" and is an important part of the therapeutic action of acupuncture. This sensation is the movement of the Qi within the body and indi-cates the potential effectiveness of the treatment.

Choosing the correct acupuncture points is another important key in acupuncture therapy. Each acupuncture point has characteris-tic functions that, when stimulated, influence the Qi in the merid-ians in specific ways. The combination of points chosen and the way those points are stimulated is a major factor in how effective an acu-puncture treatment is. Some treatments require only two or three points, whereas other treatments may require using a dozen or more acupuncture points. The number of points chosen may also vary from treatment to treatment. The Chinese have an old adage, "You never treat the same patient twice." This means that we mirror nature and the seasons and that our Qi is constantly moving and in flux. Our physiology, as well as our emotional state and mental processes, are different with each passing moment. This is why the practitioner of Chinese medicine may vary the treatment each time, for in each treat-ment we are treating an energetically different individual.

Acupuncture needles vary in length and width. The most commonly used needles are only about 1" to 1 1/2" in length. The depth of needle insertion usually depends on the site being needled. Some areas are more fleshy, such as the buttocks, legs, and upper arms, and would naturally require deeper needle insertion be-cause the meridians run deeper at these locations. Other areas, such as the face, hands, and feet, which have much less tissue, call for a more shallow needling technique.

Intradermal needles are only a fraction of an inch in length and are often taped onto the skin after they are inserted. They can be worn for a number of days. They cause no discomfort and provide constant stimulation to the acupuncture point over the time that they are worn.

Acupuncture therapists often use microacupuncture systems, for example, the systems on the ear, the face, the hand, the foot, the scalp, and the orbit surrounding the eye. A microacupuncture system is one in which the entire body is represented over a small portion of the skin, such as the ear.



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