If I had been paid a pound for every time I’ve been asked that question……. well you know the rest! Strangely enough, this is what most people are curious about and it’s a question that I find quite difficult to answer. The key is being able to provide an example of an item that you can relate to, so you can visualise your own comparison. So here are a few examples that might help.
Knitting needle: – needless to say an acupuncture needle is certainly not as big as one of those!
A large darning needle: – this comparison is only useful to people who can actually remember how to darn socks. Sad to say my age puts me in the group that actually knows what a darning needle is, anyway this isn’t a useful comparison to acupuncture needles either.
Small sewing needle: – I hope most people can relate to one of these as even in this technological age buttons do occasionally fall off shirts or trousers. Unfortunately, it’s still too large to be a useful comparison.
The size of acupuncture needles I usually use in treatment have a diameter of 0.2 mm, in other words, they are tiny. They are the thickness of a very fine filament wire (but most people don’t have those lying around the house either). The only other comparison I can offer is that the needles are about the same thickness as an eyebrow hair.
If you happen to have a metric ruler nearby usually the smallest division marked is a millimetre. The needle thickness will be one-fifth of that division, but you’ll need a magnifying glass to see it.
The next most popular question I’m asked afterwards is ‘how do you get the needles in without bending them?’ ……….Now that’s down to an acupuncturist’s skill.