What is an Acupuncture needle?

In the Nan Gyo 難経 or “Classic of Difficulties” Chapter 71 contains a very short discussion about the “lying needle 臥鍼 “which lies flat against the skin. This is instructing the practitioner that the patient should feel less of the needle and more of the practitioner. Contrary to common knowledge, an acupuncture needle is not defined as a sharp object that penetrates the skin. There are different types of needles that are rubbed or pressed into the skin and surrounding tissue area. The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine 黃帝內經 describes 9 types of needle. Only 5 of these were used for insertion with the other 4  used to stimulate the surface of the body without breaking the skin.

Illustration by Etsuko Nagahama // Photos by Harumi Urano
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