“I have a question for you. Do you sanitize your needles?”
I stopped what I was doing. Of the questions I get about acupuncture, this is not one of the most common. In fact, I’ve never been asked it because nobody sterilizes their needles in the US – it’s dangerous.
“No, the process of repeatedly sterilizing* needles is really expensive and makes needles more prone to breaking. Reusing needles is dangerous anyway. I use single-use, disposable needles in sterile blister packs because I follow Clean Needle Technique.”
*there is a huge difference between sanitizing and sterilizing
This continued into a lively discussion about CDC recommendations, licensing regulations and all sorts of other safety bits about acupuncture that made me think I should write up a blog post.
The fact is that his question was a very important question that triggers other questions:
- What is Clean Needle Technique (CNT)?
- What is the difference between dry needling and acupuncture?
- Who is allowed to do acupuncture?
- What kind of training do people get before they are allowed to needle?
- What are some signs that your practitioner may be unsafe?
These are all very important questions that should be answered for every patient who wants to be in the know.(more…)