Acupuncture is a safe, effective, and drug-free therapy that has been used to address a wide variety of common ailments and problems. At its core, acupuncture is the stimulation of specific points throughout the body, typically with needles, to alleviate pain, treat various diseases, reduce stress and far more.

The first extensive written history of acupuncture originated in China over 2,000 years ago in an old manuscript known as the “Huang Di Nei Jing” or “Yellow Emperor’s Internal Classic of Medicine.” The Huang Di Nei Jing, or Nei Jing for short, covers anatomy, physiology, pathology, treatment modalities, diagnostic techniques, herbal medicine, and needle therapy (acupuncture). The Nei Jing, which is comprised of 18 scrolls, describes a “complete medical system based on the theory of main distribution vessels and their collateral branches for the continuous circulation of blood, nutrients, defensive substances, vital air, and refined substances of vitality.” Translations of the manuscript have helped acupuncturists learn how to recognize, diagnose, and treat diseases by increasing the circulation of Qi (pronounced chee) or “vital air” through the Jing Mai or “blood vessels” with the appropriate placement of needles into specific body points.

Acupuncture Needles

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?Acupuncture Needle-Filament

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.