Acupuncture Needles

Acupuncture Needles
Acupuncture Needles

What are acupuncture needles?

Acupuncture needles have been used for many centuries. While the majority of acupuncture started with less modern materials, such as bones, sticks and bamboo.  

Acupuncture needles have advanced with new technology. Modern needles are fine, filiform (no hole down the middle of the shaft) needles made from surgical steel and come in sterile packs.

They range in thickness from 30 to 40 gauge, which is about the diameter of a hair (in contrast, the needle that a phlebotomist uses to draw your blood is between 18 and 22 guage, which is much much thicker).

 Acupuncture needles range in length from about 0.5 inches to 4-5 inches, but most often in the clinic we use 0.5-1.5 inches. 

Do acupuncture needles hurt?

Acupuncture is generally considered to be painless by most of our patients. We understand that sensitivity can be different for everyone. The majority of people would say no and that they can’t even feel them. Though, there are many different sensations associated with acupuncture. Some people can feel the “Qi” some don’t and that’s okay.

We’ll link to our article about Qi here

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What do you do with your needles?

At Maryville Acupuncture, all of our needles are single use, sterile and disposed of in a sharps container. We never reuse needles. 

These needles are left in place for 20-25 minutes while you rest comfortably.

What else should I expect during a treatment?

There are additional modalities such as cupping, electro-stimulation, lifestyle changes (diet, exercise, stress management) and traditional Chinese medicinal practices that are occasionally incorporated into your treatment to give you the best benefit.

What is Qi?

You’ll hear us mention a term in the clinic called “qi”. But what is “qi” and what does it actually mean? Many proponents of Chinese Medicine may describe qi as the life force within any living being. This life force means there is the presence of qi and qi is necessary for life to continue. But, that answer doesn’t really allow us to fully comprehend the concept of qi, nor understand how and why we use the term around the clinic.

What does this mean?

To keep it simple, qi as an overarching label for all of the physiological processes happening in the body. From the action of the enzymes in our digestive tract, to hormones traveling through our blood stream to much more. Qi may also be compared to our breath. Breathing is the mechanism which helps assist in the exchange of oxygen at the capillary beds in our lungs, renewing and restoring chemical equilibrium. Qi is the energy, it’s the movement, it’s the descriptor of anything happening in our bodies. 

When our qi is off balance it might cause us to feel pain, tiredness, hormonal imbalances, or various other symptoms. In acupuncture, the acupuncture needle can be thought of as a messenger that helps realign the qi and helps the body return to it’s equilibrium. Research shows that acupuncture increases blood flow and circulation, boosts endorphins, the immune system and reduces pain.

So can you feel qi?

While this answer varies in each individual, most people describe the feeling of acupuncture as having a deep tissue massage but more relaxing. The nervous system reacts to acupuncture needles in the body and increases feelings of relaxation. At Maryville Acupuncture we strive to offer safe, comfortable, and effective treatments. That way, each treatment becomes a collaboration between you and your acupuncturist to move and nourish your qi to support your healing and well-being.