How small are Acupuncture Needles?
Well, how small are acupuncture needles? Super small. I’ve heard, “Like a hair” or “The nose of mosquito”. To best understand an acupuncture needles size think about it’s medical definition, “A solid-filiform needle.”
In other words, it’s solid and not hollow. And it’s a filament, like a wire. They are so tiny and so delicate that a guide-tube is often needed to keep it somewhat straight enough to push into the skin.
All acupuncturists use the filiform needle. But there are other professions who are practicing acupuncture without a license who use tools much bigger to circumvent FDA restriction of the filiform needle being only used for acupuncture.
The original “Dry Needle” used in trigger point needling was a syringe that was empty, therefore dry. Physical therapists and chiropractors in most states are not allowed to use acupuncture needles so they’ve made up their own, or just used the “solid filiform needle” in a deceptive package that doesn’t read “acupuncture needle”. Some doctors have even made the “dry needle” larger! Look at this crazy photo below and check out what was used in one dry needling experiment!
A good acupuncturist should show you the needle before using it on you. I like to demonstrate how soft they are by curling them into spirals with a fingernail. In addition the needles are often coated in silicone to make the insertion smoother with high-end needles even being coated in gold or silver!
There are some acupuncture needles that are thin but also short, like the ASP needles, that are hard to even see without a magnifying glass! Not every acupuncturist uses these, because they are expensive. These babies need a special tool to insert them and are coated with gold, silver, or titanium! Generally they are only used in the ears or areas near bones.
Even though acupuncture needles are small, are they still safe? Check out the article about this subject!