anatomy of an acupuncture needleBy Sara Calabro

Can I see it? Acupuncturists get asked this a lot. “It” being the acupuncture needle.

Many people are curious about these mysterious and sometimes anxiety-provoking objects. Most of the time, when people are shown acupuncture needles, they are surprised to discover how thin they are. They do not bear any resemblance to needles that are used for injections or to draw blood.

See for yourself. The pictures below show an average-size acupuncture needle.

What does an acupuncture needle look like?

This is the shaft of an acupuncture needle, the part that the acupuncturist holds:

This is the tip of an acupuncture needle, the part that is inserted into your body:

Acupuncture needles are so thin that they bend when you touch the tip:

The average-size acupuncture needle is slightly shorter than a tube of lib balm:

Acupuncture needles, depending on the body part, are inserted about one-quarter of an inch into the skin (areas with muscle mass or adipose tissue can require deeper insertion):

Think of this as your friend:

Acupuncture needles come in various lengths and thinnesses, with many acupuncturists opting for needles even thinner than what’s shown here. If you have a fear of needles, let your acupuncturist know. Most acupuncturists stock several needle sizes and will be more than happy to use the thinnest variety at your request.

Photos by Sara Calabro

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