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Acupuncture needle, China, 1701-1900

Science Museum, London
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Credit: Acupuncture needle, China, 1701-1900. Credit: Science Museum, London. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), acupuncture needles are inserted into certain points on the skin. This unblocks the flow through the body of a life force known as qi (chi). TCM practitioners believe qi is essential to wellbeing. This Chinese example, seen second from right, has a coiled handle. This is a unique feature of Chinese needles. The coiled handle aids insertion. It is used in a technique called ‘scratching’. A fingernail is run up and down the coiled brass handle during this treatment. This sends vibrations into the acupuncture point. This example has a distinct twist at the piecing end. It may have been used during a technique called rotation. Rotation is when the needle is rolled between finger and thumb to stimulate the acupoint. maker: Unknown maker Place made: Asia, China

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