Needles are the heart of your acupuncture business. So having a good set of needles that you trust, and feel confident with is key. This article dives into some of the best products on the market and their specific benefits and uses.
It is a bold statement to claim the “best” acupuncture needle, as there are many options and many uses, as well as many components to choose from when deciding on which needles to carry in your clinic, and when they should be used.
Today’s most common needle is a single-use, filiform, stainless steel needle. The needles, of course, vary in width and length, as well as the material of the handle and manufacturer, and cost.
The needle size that I use most is .30mm. I feel like this size is most versatile for general needling. This of course is all preference, and through time and practice, this may change. I often increase the length for larger bodies and decrease the width for more sensitive patients. Of course, this is a generalized statement, and within the course of one treatment, I may use 3-4 varieties of needles.
Things to Take into Consideration
When deciding which needles to stock in your clinic a few things must come into consideration, such as what they are to be used for cosmetic acupuncture, sports medicine, children, etc., how much they cost per needle, and whether it’s more economical to buy single needles or bulk and of course safety and manufacturing.
- Cost- Some needles are sold as single needles, with one guide tube per needle, while others come in 5 or 10 packs, which have one guide tube per package. Often bulk-packed needles are more affordable than single needles, but you need to take into account if you will be using all the needles per pack, as wasting needles is not very economical either. Bulk needles most often are sold in 10 packs with one guide tube and come packaged in boxes of 1000.
- Safety- Things such as sterilization, packaging date, quality control for manufacturing, and coating or lubricants used are all important aspects to take into account when purchasing needles. Many needles are sterilized with Ethylene-Oxide Gas (ETO) which is in compliance with World Health Organization guidelines.
- Manufacturer- It is important to purchase material from companies with high-quality standards and dedication to the trade. Do not purchase off-brand, used, or expired needles.
- Material used- Most often needles are made from surgical stainless steel and have handles that may vary in material, such as copper, steel, or plastic.
- Plastic vs. Metal handles- Each handle material has its own feel and property imparted during the treatment. This often is a personal preference due to feel of handling and utilizing the innate nature of the material. It is good to think about how your needles would be used—as plastic-handled needles cannot be used for moxa (warm needling) or scratched to help “call the Qi.”
Needle Manufacturers and Needle Categories
There are many companies that manufacture needles. Listed below are the needles that I trust most and are easily accessible here in the United States;
Originally made in Japan, this company now has an American manufacturing facility. They make surgical stainless-steel needles, with high-quality safety and manufacturing standards. They also sell a variety of styles of needles, all sold in boxes of 100, and all are color coded. Some are individually wrapped and some are packaged in 10 packs. They take pride in the quality of the steel and claim them to be “painless insertion”. They also manufacture intradermal and press needles.
- D type- Platic handles, Only available in 15mm length, which makes them an excellent choice for cosmetic, auricular, or other techniques of shallow needling.
- J -15 Type- Designed specifically for cosmetic acupuncture.
- L Type– Metal handle needle, individually packaged.
- J Pro Pak 10– Plastic handle needle, offered in a bulk package- 10 needles to one guide tube,
Six types or classifications of needles are offered by the company Tempo, in a wide range of sizes (length) and gauges (width). These needles are sold by many of the most famous distributors such as Blue Poppy, Peoples Herbs, Golden Needle, Spring Wind, Golden Cabinet, Kamwo, and Bios. All needles are color-coded by gauge, either reflected upon the box or by the color of the handle. Balance 1KS-Type is the only needle variety sold by this manufacturer that is sold in bulk packaging.
- Tempo Needles
- J-Type- Plastic handles and one needle per guide tube, with 17 options available. This variety offers the widest range of options in size and gauge of needles. A great option for all-around needling and the extensive options available make this class of needles able to meet a wide variety of applications.
- D-Type- Plastic handle, and no guide tube, and are available in only 2 gauges (0.16, 0.2) and one length (15mm). These small, delicate needles are designed for freehand needling, especially good for cosmetic, auricular, scalp, and other tender areas.
- L-Type- This class of needles is made with a metal spring handle, one needle per guide tube, and has 11 options available. This needle is a more traditional design with a metal handle.
- Balance Needles
- Balance P-type- Pipe handle, one needle per guide tube, 7 options available
- Balance BSL-type- Spiral & Loop handle, one needle per guide tube, 17 options available.
- Balance 1KS-Type- Spring handle, 10 needles per guide tube, 1000 needle package, 11 options available, a great option for purchasing needles in bulk or when utilizing ten packs.
DBC is a Korean needle manufactured by the Dong Bang Corporation. These surgical stainless steel needles are silicon coated. All of their needles are All DBC made from surgical-grade stainless steel and sterilized with Ethylene-Oxide Gas (ETO). They produce both pipe and spring-handled needles.
Tai Chi offers traditional-style Chinese Acupuncture needles and tends to focus on single needles and 5packs. I enjoy this brand when I am needing a longer needle. I was unable to source the company’s website. But they are a trusted brand of needle and are sold at most major acupuncture wholesalers.
The Best Acupuncture Needles for Cosmetic Acupuncture
- Seirin- My favorite needle for cosmetic acupuncture, or face, head, and ear needle application are by far needles made by Seirin. They are also great for body points that need shallow needling, or for patients that prefer smaller gentler applications. Mainly sold without the guide tube, allowing for le ate
The Best Acupuncture Needles for Sports Therapy/ Pain management
- DBC- This company makes my all-around favorite needle in a larger size (anything over .30mm is considered a larger needle in my book.
The Best Acupuncture Needles for Sensitive Patients
- Seirin- Their needles have such a smooth insertion and are my favorite for needling anywhere on the face.
The Best All-Purpose Acupuncture Needles
- Balance- This is the type of needle that I use the most in my clinic. I find their versatility is what makes them so accessible. They are solid needles in smaller gauges and even longer lengths.
Acupuncture Needle Cost Analysis