A procedure that entices healing via the stimulation of anatomical points in or on the skin, acupuncture is an ancient healing tradition that evolved in China more than 5000 years ago. There are a number of methods to diagnosis and treatment in US acupuncture that integrates the medical traditions of countries such as Korea, Japan, and of course, China. The use of needles to penetrate the skin and then manually manipulated or augmented with mild electricity to stimulate the nerves is the most studied type of acupuncture treatment.
Chinese archeologists believe that flint known as bian stones or sharp bone pieces were the earliest acupuncture needles used. Needles that were made from bonze, copper, and iron or even gold or silver were the early versions of modern acupuncture needles. Metal acupuncture needles began to emerge during the Iron and Bronze Ages. It is not uncommon, however, to see contemporary acupuncturists to utilize gold acupuncture needles to treat certain conditions.
Modern acupuncturists in Miami use needles that vary in width or size, are solid (non-hollow), and made of stainless steel. Contemporary acupuncture needles have steel or a cooper handle with a shaft made of stainless steel. In a typical acupuncture procedure, there may be nine types of needles used; most of the time however, only six are used.
Needles are pierced at certain angles, usually around 15 to 90 degrees in relation to the skin’s surface. Once inserted, the needle is manipulated in a variety of ways that help augment the sensation and stimulation. The condition that is being treated determines the type of technique used by the acupuncturist. Although basically a painless form of treatment, an acupuncture treatment may generate a slight pinch in some people when a needle is inserted. The needles are left in their place for around 20 to 30 minutes.
THE US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) on March, 1996, gave acupuncture needles Class 2 status of “medical tools”. These needles used to be considered as “experimental devices” or Class 3. The upgrade to Class 2 implies that all acupuncture needles be used will be subject to FDA approval in order to adhere to the “single use only” labeling and quality control of the FDA. Most importantly, this bestowment allows acupuncture treatments to be eligible for insurance coverage that other alternative treatments are excluded from.
This FDA decision shows that acupuncture is an effective and safe mode of treatment. There is zero risk of infections being transmitted from one person to another since now, acupuncture needles are used only once and are disposable.