Acupuncture Needles May Have Quality Control Issues

Professor Yi Min Xie, FTSE, FIEAust      Director, Centre for Innovative Structures and Materials Deputy Head of School, Research & InnovationMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Professor Yi Min Xie, FTSE, FIEAust  
Director, Centre for Innovative Structures and Materials
Deputy Head of School, Research & Innovation
School of Civil, Environmental and Chemical Engineering
Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT University)
Melbourne 3001, Victoria Australia

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Professor Yi Min Xie: This study examined acupuncture needles of two of the most popular brands in the world. Significant surface irregularities and defects at needle tips were found, especially of needles from one of the two brands. The main conclusion of the study was that acupuncture needle manufacturers, including the well established ones, should review and improve their quality control procedures for the fabrication of acupuncture needles.

MedicalResearch.com: Were any of the findings unexpected?

Professor Yi Min Xie: The first disposal acupuncture needles were introduced in the late 1970s. After more than three decades of developments in both regulatory standards and manufacturing techniques, it would be reasonable for both acupuncturists and patients to expect high quality in such a widely used clinical device. The findings from this study were of concern, as acupuncture needles from even one of the most highly regarded manufacturers exhibited significant surface irregularities and defects.

MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Professor Yi Min Xie: Some of the commonly seen adverse effects of acupuncture, such as bleeding, haematoma/bruising or strong pain, might be caused by poor quality needles with malformed tips.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Professor Yi Min Xie: In this study, no clear correlation was found between the surface roughness/imperfection of individual needles and the corresponding force/torque amplitudes. Further research is needed to determine the relationship between the needle surface conditions and the force/torque magnitudes of acupuncture manipulation.

Citation:

Examination of surface conditions and other physical properties of commonly used stainless steel acupuncture needles
Yi Min Xie Shanqing Xu Claire Shuiqing Zhang, Charlie Changli Xue
Xie YM, et al Acupunct Med
2014; 0:1-9. doi:10.1136/acupmed-2013-010472