Acupuncture needles have evolved significantly over the course of this medicine’s long history. Originally, acupuncture needles were sharp stones used for bleeding. This was back in the days when demonic possession was thought to cause disease, and the offending spirits were bled from the patient’s body.
Fortunately for us, acupuncture has been greatly refined since then.
Over time, metal needles of bronze, gold, and silver (and eventually steel) replaced the stone, becoming thinner and finer as technology advanced. Tomb excavation of the 2nd century BC shows that silver needles have been used since at least that time.
Stainless steel needles are the standard in clinical use today.
This metal is stronger and harder than silver, and can be made into very thin, sharp needles ideal for insertion. But what if we are looking to do something other than the simple insertion of needles into acupuncture points to relieve symptoms? In Shakuju Therapy, our aim is broader – we are using needles to warm the body, thereby increasing vitality & ability to carry out healthy functioning. A standard stainless steel needle limits this capacity.
Dr. Shoji Kobayashi, originator of Shakuju Therapy, uses a silver needle in treatment because it supplements and warms the body more effectively than other metals. As archaeology shows, this is a tradition begun over two thousand years ago by our acupuncture forbears. In contemporary metallurgy, silver is recognized as the best known conductor of heat and electricity, with the highest electrical & thermal conductivity.
Apart from silver’s energetic qualities, other properties are utilized in Dr. Kobayashi’s specially-designed Shakuju needle. Being a relatively soft metal, silver is harder to insert than stainless steel – it lacks the same tensile characteristics. This is an advantage in Shakuju Therapy, where insertion is not our goal.
The needle point is rounded, not designed for simple insertion, and the metal’s softness gives us greater control in using the needle to warm the body & greater sensitivity in feeling the body’s response to treatment. A standard stainless steel needle with a fine point would insert too easily and deeply, going through the optimal treatment level, and actually diminish therapeutic efficacy.
Acupuncture needles come in many shapes and sizes, being made from materials other than silver & stainless steel. Each has its own purpose. For our purpose, silver is uniquely capable to afford the conductivity, sensitivity, and efficacy that Shakuju Therapy requires.