Medical Acupuncture (cont.)
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It is believed that the earliest acupuncture instruments were sharp pieces of bone or flint called Bian stones. During the Iron and Bronze ages, metal acupuncture needles began to be developed. Early needles were made from iron, copper, bronze, and even silver and gold.
Modern acupuncture needles are made out of stainless steel and come in various lengths and gauges of width. These acupuncture needles consist of a stainless steel shaft, with a handle made out of copper or steel. Some Japanese needles have a color-coded plastic handle. Unlike standard needles used for intramuscular injections, or for drawing blood, acupuncture needles are solid, not hollow, and have a finely tapered point, as opposed to a beveled cutting-edge point. In fact, acupuncture needles are so thin that an acupuncture needle can actually fit within the hollow of a standard blood-drawing needle.
Acupuncture is essentially painless. Although some people may experience a slight pinch as the needle is inserted, many feel nothing at all. Once inserted, the needles remain in place for approximately 20-30 minutes. Because modern acupuncture needles are disposable and used only once, there is no risk of transmitting infections from one person to another.
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