Guidelines on Basic Training and Safety in Acupuncture
(1999; 35 pages) [French] [Spanish] View the PDF document
Table of Contents
View the documentAcknowledgements
Open this folder and view contentsIntroduction
Open this folder and view contentsSection I: Basic training in acupuncture
Close this folderSection II: Safety in acupuncture
Open this folder and view contents1. Prevention of infection
Open this folder and view contents2. Contraindications
Close this folder3. Accidents and untoward reactions
View the document3.1 Needle quality
View the document3.2 Position of patient
View the document3.3 Fainting
View the document3.4 Convulsions
View the document3.5 Pain
View the document3.6 Stuck needle
View the document3.7 Broken needle
View the document3.8 Local infection
View the document3.9 Burning during moxibustion
View the document4. Electrical stimulation and laser therapy
Open this folder and view contents5. Injury to important organs
View the document6. Patient records
Open this folder and view contentsAppendix
View the documentAnnex I: List of participants

3.5 Pain

During needle insertion

Pain during insertion is usually due to clumsy technique, or to blunt, hooked or thick needles. It may also occur in highly sensitive patients. In most patients, skilful and rapid penetration of the needle through the skin is painless. The correct technique and optimum degree of force to use must be learned through practice. A few devices may facilitate smooth and fast penetration, such as the use of needle guide tubes (which hold the needle steady over the point while it is tapped into place), and the "flicking-in" technique (a method of inserting the needle by flicking the upper end of its handle with the middle or index finger of one hand while the handle of the needle is loosely held by the index and middle fingers of the other hand, with the tip of the needle lightly touching the acupuncture point). The "acupuncture sensation" of soreness, tingling and heaviness indicating the arrival of qi (deqi) at the point should be distinguished from painful reactions.

After insertion

Pain occurring when the needle is inserted deep into the tissues may be due to hitting pain receptor nerve fibres, in which case, the needle should be lifted until it is just beneath skin and carefully inserted again in another direction.

Pain occurring when the needle is rotated with too wide an amplitude, or is lifted and thrust, is often due to it becoming entwined with fibrous tissue. To relieve the pain, gently rotate the needle back and forth until the fibre is released.

Pain occurring while the needle is in place is usually caused by it curving when the patient moves, and is relieved by resuming the original position.

After withdrawal

This is usually due to unskilled manipulation or excessive stimulation. For mild cases, press the affected area; for severe cases, moxibustion may be applied in addition to pressure.

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