For many, needles are not our friend! Trypanophobia is the extreme fear of medical procedures involving injections or hypodermic needles. If there is a medical term for it, it is comforting to know you are not alone because others have experienced it too.
Between doctor visits, lab tests, and recent Covid vaccinations, we have had plenty of opportunities to be reminded how anxious we can get about needles. With that said, we are pretty confident that many not already acquainted with acupuncture believe that the needles used in acupuncture are the same as the ones that you would expect at the dentist, doctor, or any other dreaded place that involves needles. Let us be the first to reassure you THEY ARE NOT THE SAME. Acupuncture needles are very thin, only slightly thicker than a human hair.
In ancient China, the earliest record of acupuncture, it was common to use animal bones as needles. Over time they graduated to using metals such as iron, steel, gold, and silver; each metal was understood to have different effects on the conduction of Qi and was used for treating various conditions. Gold needles, for example, were used if there was weakness in the body and tonification was needed. Silver was thought to be the best choice when treating fevers, pain, and inflammation for its strongly dispersing qualities. These needles were cleaned and reused, but due to safety and hygiene, needles are currently made of stainless steel for one-time use and disposable.
Depth of Insertion
Acupuncturists spend years in school learning anatomy and physiology to know the exact location of each of the acupuncture points. When a needle is inserted into the body, the angle and depth of insertion are extremely important. The depth is necessary because of the anatomical structures underneath it, but there is also a correlation between the type of condition being treated and the insertion depth. Below is a list of things treated by both shallow and deep insertion.
· Acute Conditions
· Pain relieved by pressure (deficiency conditions)
· Treatments in the summer season
· Someone who has a weak pulse
· Superficial Problems (Qi, meridians, skin, muscles)
· Problems on the Yang aspect of the body (head, neck, chest, and upper back)
· A Delicate Patient (shallow insertion, shorter retention time, fewer needles, finer needles)
· Chronic Conditions
· Pain aggravated by pressure (excess conditions)
· Treatments in the winter season
· Someone with an excessive pulse
· Deeper problems (tendons, bones, blood, internal organs)
· Issues on the Yin aspect of the body (abdomen, lumbosacral area, hips, extremities)
· A Strong Patient (deeper insertion, longer retention time, more needles, thicker needles)
As you can see, acupuncture needles have come a long way. And if you have ever had acupuncture, you will know how amazing it is that a few tiny needles can have such a profound effect on the body, mind, and spirit.
At Gulf Coast Acupuncture and Fertility, we are here to help you feel better. Book your appointment today!