I like to joke and say I throw the needles at you like a dartboard… but unfortunately, it’s not as exciting as that.
There are a couple of ways your acupuncturist might insert the needles. Firstly, they’re going to find a point either by eye or by prodding you gently to figure out your anatomy as most of the points are located in reference to tendons, joints, etc.
With a guide tube
Once we’ve found the location of the point, we slot the needle into a small plastic (or bamboo in my case) sterile ‘guide’ tube, just a bit shorter than the needle so the very tip of the handle is poking out. The tube acts as a support for the needle and improves our accuracy.
It’s placed onto your skin and the needle inside the tube is tapped in quickly and gently. Then the guide tube slides off and we move onto the next point. Sometimes after the initial insertion, we push the needle in a little further to stop it flopping around (surprisingly that is more irritating than having a needle in a bit deeper!).
Without a guide tube
This takes skill and lots of practice! Once we’ve found the point, we use our thumb and fingers to quickly push the needle into the skin.
Either way, the outcome is the same. It just depends on how your practitioner was taught, and their own preferences. I’ll be creating a short video to demonstrate how we insert acupuncture needles for you soon.