Acupuncture Disposable Needles – History, Manufacture and Clinical Usage

Published in the Journal of Acupuncture in Medicine, 2000

History and Background

The needle is the most important tool for an acupuncturist. If we look back through history, the earliest acupuncture needle was made in bone called the ‘Bian’ about 5000 years ago. Since then they were made with gold, silver and more recently, stainless steel.

European Jesuits wrote a number of books on Chinese medicine and even the publication in France of Soulie de Morant’s work on acupuncture did not popularise [his Eastern art of healing until Nixon’s visit to China in 1972. James Reston published a special report on acupuncture anaesthesia following his own experience in a Chinese hospital during the Nixon visit Subsequently global interest in this ‘magic’ needle exploded, along with this exposure professional demand for the needle increased rapidly in the West. Acupuncture needles were traditionally handcrafted to perfection, demand meant a mass production method had to be devised. In February 1972 AcuMedic first imported into UK silver and gold handled, stainless steel filiform needles in both coil and spiral format. These needles were reused many times using the sterilising process of either an autoclave or glass bead.

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