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Press needles after acupunture

Q:.I went for my first acupuncture session today for severe anxiety and depression. Found it quite relaxing and after the pins were taken out she  inserted 3 tiny needles with a flat top into my wrist on my  forearm, the other arm and one into middle of my chest and told me to keep them in till my next session in a week. Is this normal? She says it will really help but I'm a bit paranoid about it.   I have googled this and haven't come across anybody who has had this done.  Maybe it's just my anxiety playing up again.

A:  These needles are called press needles or press stud needles, and as you can see if you type 'press stud acupuncture needle' into Amazon, they are freely available. They are used more often than not in Japanese styles of acupuncture, but over time their benefit as a gentle continuation of treatment has seen their use extended into the mainstream. They are also commonly used in ear acupuncture.

The BAcC has published guidelines for its members which strongly recommend that a patient is given clear instructions about what to do if one of them detaches. Most of them come with small adhesive patches to hold them in place but our experience is that these are not usually shower-proof or sport-proof, and where they are used the practitioner often has to make a professional judgement about the likelihood that a patient will be able to keep them in place for a reasonable length of time. This can be a dilemma; children respond very well to gentle techniques like this but are the last people you could feel confident would lead a sedate life.

There are also a number of safety concerns about the use of retained needles of any kind, mainly to do with an increased risk of certain kinds of infection in patients who have had replacement heart valves or a history of certain types of heart disease. However, a practitioner will be aware of this sort of detail from the case history they took at the outset of treatment.

In summary, there is no reason to have any qualms about the use of these needles as a way of helping with your problems as long as they are securely held in place. If one does accidentally detach, it is probably best to keep it in a sealed container and hand it back to the practitioner for disposal in a sharps box.

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