During an acupuncture treatment session, anywhere from 1 to 20 disposable metallic needles are inserted into the body, ranging from just breaking the surface to up to 1 to 3 inches long , depending on what is being treated and the required depth or penetration. Only sterile, one-time use needles (that are sealed prior to use) are utilised. After use, the acupuncture needles must be disposed in a proper hazardous waste receptacle.
The acupuncture needles are often left in for approximately 20 to 30 minutes. Some practitioners insert needles, turn them either in one direction or the other or both, depending on what they are attempting to achieve, and these needles are inserted for perhaps 10 seconds only, removed and the same needle is used for treatment of other points on that same patient. In certain instances, needles are warmed or electrically charged after insertion. The electrical acupuncture can be used with needles or through the use of a non-penetrating probe.