Practitioners should always wash their hands before treating a patient. Washing the hands again immediately before the acupuncture procedure is particularly important in preventing infection, and should include thorough lathering with soap, scrubbing the hands and fingernails, rinsing under running water for 15 seconds, and careful drying on a clean paper towel.
Many acupuncturists palpate the acupuncture point after the needling site has been prepared. In such cases, their fingertips should again be cleaned with an alcohol swab. The use of sterile surgical gloves, or individual finger stalls, is recommended for the protection of the patient and the practitioner, especially if the latter has cuts or abrasions. Those with infected lesions on the hands should not practise until they are healed.