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In Traditional Chinese Medicinetherapy, TCM practitioners use acupuncture needles to stimulate the nerves present beneath the skin surface and eliminate Qi imbalance.
Acupuncture needles may cause a slight pain at the place of insertion and, so the practitioners need to make use of sharp needles to make the treatment comfortable. By choosing the right acupuncture needle, the patient will feel little to no discomfort and still get a solution to his/her problem. Acupuncture needles help in stimulating the immune system, improving blood circulation, and healing the wound.
Did you know there were nine types of acupuncture needles in the ancient days? The "Nine Needles" were first quoted in HuangdiNeijing’sInternal Classic Ling-Shu. TCM practitioners often regarded the emperor Huangdias an influential figure in Traditional Chinese Medicine Therapy. Let’s find out more about the collective needling instruments that were popular in Ancient China.
1. Spade Needle (Chan Zhen)
The spade acupuncture needles have a large head with a sharp end. The acupuncture needle is significantly large, and the end part is sharper than other needles. More often than not, the spade needles are ideal for managing the Yang deficiencies such as coldness, clamminess, fatigue, etc. It is common to use the needleswhen the disease fails to stay at a particular place.
2. Round Pointed Needle (Yuan Zhen)
Yuan Zhen is a round-pointed needle with an oval-shaped tip. The Ling-Shu text mentions that it has an egg-shaped tip. Ancient practitioners used it tomassage the rift of the flesh. The needle tip is not ideal for insertion in the skin. On the other, you can use it to put pressure on the skin externally at a specific point (acupressure).
3. Pressure Needle (Ti Zhen)
With a slightly blunt head in the shape of a grain, the pressure needles are similar to round-pointed needles that help with acupressure. The work of a pressure needle is to stimulate qi flow and take care of the imbalances without piercing the skin. The difference between round-pointed needles and pressure needles is their length. Pressure needles are significantly longer than round-pointed ones.
4. Sharp-Edged Needle (Feng Zhen)
The sharp-edged needles have a triangular head for the effortless piercing of the skin. Often, the practitioners used them for treating chronic illnesses. The acupuncture needles are ideal for drawing out blood from the skin. And they help in eliminating excess heat from the body. Similar to modern-day lancets and bleeding needles, there were many benefits to using sharp-edged needles. With an accurate technique, the practitioner can reduce the hardening of arteries, improve insulin sensitivity, eliminate infection, etc.
5. Sword-Shaped Needle (Fei pi Zhen)
The sword-shaped needle, as the name suggests, is very similar to the shape of a sword. If the patient is suffering from an injury that has resulted in pus, TCM practitioners recommend using the sword-shaped needle. It helps to eliminate purulent matter from the wound.
6. Round-Sharp Needle (Yuan Li Zhen)
The round-sharp needle has a unique shape like a spindle. With the instrument-tip being extremely sharp and the head comparatively wider, it is ideal for penetrating deep within several skin layers. Its unique shape helps to puncture the skin quickly and with minimal pain. TCM practitioners used it to balance the qi and increase blood flow in a specific region.
7. Fine Needle (Hao Zhen)
The fine needlesareundeniably thin, like a fine strand of hair. Comparable to the modern-day filiform acupuncture needles, the needling instruments have a sharp tip with a lean body for easy insertion. Experts prefer using them to generate deqi sensation and treat the blockage in the body's energy flow.
8. Long Needle (Chang Zhen)
Long needles resemble fineneedles, although they are longer than the latter. The length is long enough with a sharp tip for inserting deep inside the skin's surface. It has a pointed tip and a long cylindrical body totreat deep locations with minimal pain. Nowadays, you will find long needles in varying sizes.
9. Large Needle (Da Zhen)
The large needles have a cylindrical plank with a bit of a rounded tip. The tip of a large needle is less sharp than a fine needle. The needle helps to drain water from the joints and thus, helps in the reduction of swelling. TCM practitioners often use them in the cases of swollen lymphatic nodes.
The ancient practice of acupuncture has evolved. Although all of the nine types of needles are not in use today, several of them are a preferred choice of TCM practitioners for treatment. Fine acupuncture needles are amongst the most-used instruments from the nine needles. Even sharp-edged needles & long needles are in use today.
In addition to them, practitioners now use special auricular acupuncture needles and acupressure magnets. As a TCM professional, it is crucial to understand the patient's condition and the cause of the illness. Remember using proper type of instruments is essential for quick and safe recovery.