Keeping Acupuncture Safe and Painless

Keeping Acupuncture Safe and Painless

When it comes to acupuncture, safety and the quality of the patient experience are paramount; one significant factor is the quality of the needles used, especially now that single-use disposable needles are the norm.

A recent scientific paper compared two popular brands of stainless steel acupuncture needles – one from China and the other from Japan – and found a need for improved quality control in one brand, in order to enhance safety and comfort for acupuncture users.

Writing with colleagues in the peer-reviewed journal Acupuncture in Medicine, Professor Yi Min Xie from the Centre for Innovative Structures and Materials, in Melbourne, Australia, examined the surface conditions and various other physical properties of two brands of sterilised single-use stainless steel acupuncture needles widely used in many countries.

The study used scanning electron microscope (SEM) images taken of ten randomly chosen needles from each brand. Further SEM images were taken after each of these needles underwent a standard manipulation with an acupuncture needling practice gel. A comparison of forces and torques during the needling process was also carried out.

The SEM images revealed significant surface irregularities and inconsistencies at the needle tips, especially for needles from one of the two brands. Metallic lumps and small, loosely attached pieces of material were observed on the surfaces of some needles. Some of the lumps and pieces of material seen on the needle surfaces disappeared after the acupuncture manipulation.

According to the authors, if these needles had been used on patients, the metallic lumps and small pieces of material could have been deposited in human tissues, which could have caused adverse events such as dermatitis. Malformed needle tips might also cause other adverse effects including bleeding, haematoma/bruising or strong pain during needling. An off-centre needle tip could result in the needle altering its direction during insertion and consequently failing to reach the intended acupuncture point or damaging adjacent tissues.

3B Scientific stocks acupuncture needles manufactured in Japan by world-leader SEIRIN*, the company that developed the first single-use, disposable acupuncture needle in 1978. Since then, SEIRIN* has been setting the standard globally for high-quality, uniform, painless acupuncture needles.

Many aspects of the manufacturing process were developed by and are proprietary to SEIRIN*. From their rotational drawing process that gives the stainless steel a strong internal structure to their automated sharpening process, from their triple polishing and buffing to their electrolytic cleaning process, SEIRIN’s superior processes and technology are the reason these needles live up to their legendary reputation.


  • Learn from Traditional Chinese Medicine experts from all around the world, including well-known names such as Wang Ju-Yi (Canada), John Chen (USA), Kiiko Matsumoto (USA), Barbara Kirschbaum (Germany), Judy Becker Worsley (UK ), Josef Müller (Switzerland), Arnaud Versluys, Yair Maimon (Israel) at the 45th TCM Kongress in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Bavaria, Germany 27-31 May 2014. 3B Scientific will be exhibiting at the event.


*3B Scientific Stocks Acupuncture Needles – you can find out more by visiting our website



1 Comment

  • The blog was absolutely fantastic! There is Lot of great information which can be helpful in some or other way. Keep updating the blog, looking forward for more contents.

    Shally Austine Reply

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