-- Robert Preidt
THURSDAY, Feb. 13, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Uniformly improving
the quality of acupuncture needles would help prevent potential
problems such as skin reactions and pain, according to a new
"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 Center for Innovative Structures and Materials at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia.
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 Feb. 12 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
The malformed tips found on some of the needles could cause
bleeding, bruising or high levels of pain during acupuncture, the
About 1.4 billion acupuncture needles are used worldwide each
year, about 90 percent of which are manufactured in China. Japan
and Korea are the other major suppliers.
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.
The U.S. National Center for Complementary and Alternative
Medicine has more about
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