Uniformly improving the quality of acupuncture needles would help prevent
potential problems such as skin
reactions and pain,
according to a new study.
"Acupuncture needle manufacturers, including the well-established ones,
should review and improve their quality-control procedures for fabrication of
needles," said researcher Yi Min Xie, of the Centre for Innovative
Structures and Materials at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia.
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Acupuncture, a centuries-old form of medicine that originated in China,
involves pricking the skin with needles to alleviate pain and treat various
physical and mental conditions.
Although acupuncture is very safe overall, improving the quality of needles
can make it even safer, said the authors of the study, which was published
online in the journal Acupuncture in Medicine.
Researchers examined 10 randomly selected needles from each of the two most
commonly used brands of stainless steel acupuncture needles. They discovered
that many needles had significant surface irregularities or malformed tips.
Some of the needles had metallic lumps and bits of material on their
surfaces. If these needles had been used on patients, this metallic residue
could have ended up in their tissue and caused allergic or painful reactions,
the researchers said in a journal news release.
The malformed tips found on some of the needles could cause bleeding, bruising
or high levels of pain during acupuncture, the researchers said.
About 1.4 billion acupuncture needles are used worldwide each year, about
90% of which are manufactured in China. Japan and Korea are the other major
It's highly unlikely that poor-quality acupuncture needles would affect a
patient's health, Dr Mike Cummings, medical director of the British Medical
Acupuncture Association and associate editor of the journal, said in a podcast
accompanying the study. But people who suffer pain during acupuncture should
ask their practitioner to check the quality of the needles they use, he said.
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acupuncture for pregnant women(Picture: Acupuncture from Shutterstock)