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032.1 Modern History of Acupuncture Needles • Matt Pike
Episode 3218th May 2018 • Qiological Podcast • Michael Max
00:00:00 00:40:38

Shownotes

Needles are an essential aspect of our practices that most of us don’t know much about, other than we have some brands or types we like to use. What goes into a needle and how needle technology over the years has changed is a bit of a mystery to many of us. So I’m delighted to have Matt Pike here with me. He’s been involved with the sourcing and manufacture of acupuncture needles for a long time.

We are going to get into the backstory on this essential tool that we use everyday in the work we do. And we’re going to talk a little about a new needled being introduced here at the conference that has been specially designed and  manufactured for sports and orthopedic acupuncture. 

Transcripts

Michael Max:

Welcome to qiological.

Michael Max:

Mini-series dedicated to sports and orthopedic acupuncture for the next

Michael Max:

few days, I'll be bringing you several podcasts a day from the sports acupuncture

Michael Max:

alliances conference in San Jose.

Michael Max:

In addition to interviews and discussions with speakers of the

Michael Max:

conference, you'll also be hearing from participants and you'll have

Michael Max:

a special front row seat at a round table conversation around the issues,

Michael Max:

running a sports medicine practice.

Michael Max:

The sports acupuncture Alliance was created to promote the study and practice

Michael Max:

of sports and orthopedic acupuncture.

Michael Max:

I'm delighted that they were willing to partner with qiological to bring

Michael Max:

you this mini series so that those of you who are not able to attend

Michael Max:

the conference could learn from the speakers as well as the participants,

Michael Max:

and to get a taste of what it's like to be here at this special event.

Michael Max:

Please enjoy these discussions and take what you learn here

Michael Max:

and use it in your clinic.

Michael Max:

You know, needles are an essential aspect of our practices that I suspect

Michael Max:

most of us don't know much about.

Michael Max:

Other than that, we have some brands or types that we'd like to use, but

Michael Max:

what goes into a needle and how needle technology over the years has changed?

Michael Max:

Well, I know for myself, I'm pretty ignorant about it.

Michael Max:

So I'm delighted to have Matt pike here with me.

Michael Max:

Matt is a principal at LASA OMS, and he's also the president of Seren USA.

Michael Max:

He's been involved with the sourcing and manufacturer of

Michael Max:

acupuncture needles for a long, long.

Michael Max:

We are going to get into the backstory on this essential tool that we all

Michael Max:

use every day in the work that we do.

Michael Max:

And we're going to talk a little about a new needle that's being

Michael Max:

introduced here at the conference.

Michael Max:

That's been specifically designed and manufactured for sports

Michael Max:

and orthopedic acupuncture map.

Michael Max:

Welcome to qiological.

Matt Pike:

Thanks for having me, Michael.

Michael Max:

I'm looking forward to talking with you today.

Michael Max:

You know, I know that you are a principal at LASA, one of our

Michael Max:

sponsors, and, uh, you're also the president of Sarah in America.

Michael Max:

So you've got a lot of experience with needles and with acupuncturists, this is,

Michael Max:

this is not an infomercial for you guys.

Michael Max:

I've got you today because you have.

Michael Max:

A lot of experience with acupuncture needles.

Michael Max:

Can you give us a little background on how you've gotten involved with

Michael Max:

needles and, and how long you've

Matt Pike:

been doing this?

Matt Pike:

Yeah, so it all started.

Matt Pike:

My mother married a person who was an acupuncturist that had a

Matt Pike:

hard time when he graduated from.

Matt Pike:

Uh, acupuncture school finding product.

Matt Pike:

So we took it upon himself to travel to Asia and start collecting products.

Matt Pike:

And, you know, as you can imagine, back in the time when acupuncture is fairly

Matt Pike:

new in the United States, he ended up graduating from the new England school of

Matt Pike:

acupuncture, which is the oldest school still in existence in the United States.

Matt Pike:

And, um, he's.

Matt Pike:

Bringing in all these exciting products and handing them out to his friends.

Matt Pike:

And before you knew it, this company called wellness, medical supplies

Matt Pike:

began and he never really was able to do have a big practice because,

Matt Pike:

uh, sourcing products and selling them in the U S market to people that

Matt Pike:

needed them, kind of became this, uh, overtaking, uh, piece of his life.

Matt Pike:

So that's kind of what got me into it from a young age, going

Matt Pike:

on vacations with the family.

Matt Pike:

And, uh, and speaking as person.

Matt Pike:

So his name was Thomas Reiki, Mackie, and he was the founder

Matt Pike:

of OMS medical supplies.

Matt Pike:

And then, uh, essentially a co-founder of Seren America, which

Matt Pike:

is a joint venture between Sarah incorporation and OMS medical supplies.

Matt Pike:

And then a little bit later in life, my mother created a company

Matt Pike:

called LASA medical supplies, and then the two companies merged.

Matt Pike:

So you could imagine as a child kind of, uh, following, uh, around with

Matt Pike:

them, Uh, that's kind of what I spoke to my C was a stepfather of mine and

Matt Pike:

that's how we kind of converse with each other is his acupuncture supplies.

Matt Pike:

So then later I became, I was on the board of directors of Seren, uh,

Matt Pike:

America, which I started learning more and more about acupuncture needles from

Matt Pike:

a relatively young age and then maybe 12 years ago, or so my wife and I, um,

Matt Pike:

took over the operations of possible.

Michael Max:

W I did not know that backstory that's fascinating.

Michael Max:

He basically had his own itch that he needed to scratch.

Michael Max:

And.

Michael Max:

Turns out that he helped all his friends get their hands on good needles and

Michael Max:

supplies.

Matt Pike:

That's right.

Matt Pike:

And at the time, uh, all mouse was the only importer of acupuncture needles.

Matt Pike:

So a kind of an exciting time to be.

Matt Pike:

And you could imagine the excitement he had when he was finding different

Matt Pike:

types of high-end maxes and different types of cupping sets, et cetera.

Matt Pike:

And so it was, it was a, essentially something that was really a passionate.

Matt Pike:

Well,

Michael Max:

it's a whole different world in Asia where it's common.

Michael Max:

That's exactly right.

Michael Max:

Yeah.

Michael Max:

What are some changes that you've seen?

Michael Max:

With needles over the years.

Michael Max:

I mean, you've been, you, you know, you grew up with this basically.

Matt Pike:

Yeah.

Matt Pike:

So I think in order to, to talk about the changes, you probably need to take

Matt Pike:

a little step back and understand, uh, what kind of, where we were at 40

Matt Pike:

years ago in acupuncture or longer.

Matt Pike:

So back from the beginning, acupuncture needles were all.

Matt Pike:

Reusable.

Matt Pike:

They had to be autoclaved or somehow sterilized between uses and all

Matt Pike:

acupuncture needles were handmade.

Matt Pike:

And it was really in 1978, a small company in Japan revolutionized the industry.

Matt Pike:

And they created the first single use disposable acupuncture needle.

Matt Pike:

And so today you wouldn't even think of acupuncture as having reusable

Matt Pike:

needles, but it was really not that long ago, 1978, when that company

Matt Pike:

revolutionized the industry and the name of that company is Saron corporation.

Matt Pike:

So they created that first single use disposable needle.

Matt Pike:

And really what did that do it.

Matt Pike:

Allowed acupuncture to be accepted in the Western countries and which ultimately

Matt Pike:

paved the way for the FDA to be able to classify needles as class two.

Matt Pike:

Cause they would never allow a reusable needle to be used, you know, in a

Matt Pike:

large scale in the United States.

Matt Pike:

Wow.

Matt Pike:

What does it mean to be a class?

Matt Pike:

Uh, different levels of classification, class, one being kind of very simple

Matt Pike:

medical devices, class to being something a little bit more invasive, like an

Matt Pike:

acupuncture needle that pierces the skin.

Matt Pike:

And then class three would be more like implantable stuff.

Matt Pike:

So at each of these different levels, Medical devices requires a

Matt Pike:

different levels of scrutiny by the FDA to being a class one medical

Matt Pike:

device into the United States.

Matt Pike:

It could be as simple as just registering the device, but the bigger class,

Matt Pike:

two medical device that requires something called a five 10 K, which

Matt Pike:

is showing that that needle is, is equivalent of some other needle that's

Matt Pike:

been accepted in the United States.

Matt Pike:

So in

Michael Max:

1978, there was a revolution in needles that.

Michael Max:

Without that we wouldn't be where we are today.

Matt Pike:

That's true.

Matt Pike:

I mean, some other company would have done it, but it happened to be

Matt Pike:

Sarah in that, that, that did that.

Michael Max:

And it really paved the way for things.

Michael Max:

You know, I remember when I was in acupuncture school, oh my God.

Michael Max:

20 years ago at this point.

Michael Max:

And we had an autoclave and we learned to do that because it was just something

Michael Max:

that you were supposed to learn to do.

Michael Max:

And.

Michael Max:

I remember getting out of school and going and pricing and autoclave

Michael Max:

and thinking about all the Michigan that goes with autoclaving and I

Michael Max:

thought, why would I ever do that when I've got disposable meals?

Matt Pike:

Yeah.

Matt Pike:

From, from a safety standpoint, that just, it wouldn't work.

Matt Pike:

Yep.

Michael Max:

So there were handmade then.

Michael Max:

And now how are they made?

Michael Max:

I mean, obviously by machines, what's the process look like?

Matt Pike:

So surprisingly what's interesting is, uh, 40 years later,

Matt Pike:

there's still the majority of the needles manufactured in the

Matt Pike:

world market are still handmade.

Matt Pike:

The only difference between what was pre 40 years ago and now is that

Matt Pike:

those needles are single use disposal.

Matt Pike:

So the majority of the needles are still handmade and it's a person sitting in

Matt Pike:

front of a grinding wheel with essentially wire stainless steel wire, and very

Matt Pike:

carefully grinding those needles.

Matt Pike:

And these people are amazing at what they do.

Matt Pike:

But obviously when it's handmade, you're introducing all sorts of humans.

Matt Pike:

So Sarah needles, on the other hand, you know, they've gone through many different

Matt Pike:

phases of, of manufacturing from the beginning of being more rudimentary, kind

Matt Pike:

of simple kind of train systems where a trolley goes through an assembly line and

Matt Pike:

little mini robots would pick it up and, and, uh, and do some operation on them.

Matt Pike:

And now it's these huge, you know, robotic machines, almost

Matt Pike:

like what you would see in a car.

Matt Pike:

Plants, uh, that are moving the needles from station station and,

Matt Pike:

and acting upon it in different ways.

Matt Pike:

So automated manufacturing, the grinding machines, those are all,

Matt Pike:

um, the grinding wheels are, are running through a computerized system.

Matt Pike:

Then the needles go through.

Matt Pike:

An entire bathing system where they do a more of a basic solution or acidic

Matt Pike:

solution, a more water-based solution.

Matt Pike:

And they spend a tremendous amount of time cleaning the needles to get all

Matt Pike:

the solvent, get all the grease and all the manufacturing stuff out of it.

Matt Pike:

And then it goes to the assembly place location, which is in a clean.

Matt Pike:

And those robotic machines will put it through its process.

Matt Pike:

Yeah.

Matt Pike:

Ultimately coming out with, with boxes of needles, all untouched by human hand.

Matt Pike:

So it's pretty amazing, amazing system.

Matt Pike:

If you like technology, you would just be blown away, kicking a tour

Matt Pike:

of the Sarah and manufacturing fussy.

Michael Max:

It sounds fascinating.

Michael Max:

Well, you said most of the needles are still handmade.

Michael Max:

So does that include, I mean, I know there's some other big manufacturers,

Michael Max:

like the Korean DBCs there's, I don't know all the brands from China.

Michael Max:

These, are they still hand grinding those or do they have some sort of a

Matt Pike:

lot?

Matt Pike:

Surprisingly, a lot of them are, and I don't want to mention names

Matt Pike:

at this point, but like the Korean manufacturing company that you talked

Matt Pike:

about, I visited their facility.

Matt Pike:

Amazing.

Matt Pike:

State-of-the-art.

Matt Pike:

If you saw the two systems, they are completely like separate.

Matt Pike:

There there's nothing similar to their manufacturing process, but

Matt Pike:

even the DBC needles, it's a very simplistic manufacturing system.

Matt Pike:

That's extremely fast and extremely efficient.

Matt Pike:

And dung bong, as you may know, is probably the largest manufacturer

Matt Pike:

of acupuncture needles in the world.

Matt Pike:

They produce well over a billion needles a year, and this company.

Matt Pike:

It has to have fast processing to be able to support the large throughput.

Matt Pike:

So theirs is an amazing system, but it's, there's still some

Matt Pike:

kind of manual components to it.

Matt Pike:

Whereas Sarah, on the other hand is a much slower process.

Matt Pike:

The machines cost a lot more money and they, they wouldn't be able to handle

Matt Pike:

the same throughput given the same square footage and they don't have to, since.

Matt Pike:

Their whole goal is producing the highest quality needle in the world.

Matt Pike:

It's, um, you know, the process of a little bit slower to be able to support

Matt Pike:

that other big changes between them as, as you mentioned, DVC, and I'm talking

Matt Pike:

about Seren a little bit, is that the quality control at, in each of those

Matt Pike:

steps, but that being said, so that's an example of two different companies

Matt Pike:

out there that have these automated systems, but in China, the majority of

Matt Pike:

the needle's developed are all done by.

Matt Pike:

There is one company that has so many automated manufacturing that's

Matt Pike:

though lots of accompany as well, which just recently was purchased

Matt Pike:

maybe 10 years ago, seven years ago, by a large Chinese public company.

Matt Pike:

That's invested a lot of money into their manufacturing.

Matt Pike:

Yeah.

Matt Pike:

I

Michael Max:

suspect as time goes on, we'll probably see more and

Michael Max:

more of these manufacturers move toward this automation is that.

Michael Max:

That sound

Matt Pike:

right?

Matt Pike:

Yeah.

Matt Pike:

I think as, as time goes on, you know, people demand quality and in order

Matt Pike:

to produce a high quality needle, you have to have automated manufacturing.

Matt Pike:

When you have a manual process there it's, it's all about error.

Matt Pike:

Humans make mistakes and it's a non repeatable process.

Matt Pike:

So the only way to have a manufacturing process that is

Matt Pike:

repeat, you know, that you can.

Matt Pike:

Produce high quality needles.

Matt Pike:

You need to have an automated manufacturing process that

Matt Pike:

has reproducible processes.

Matt Pike:

So if something were to you find out that could be improved upon, you can modify

Matt Pike:

the machine, you can insert another step you can modify or tweak the machines,

Matt Pike:

um, to be able to fix that problem.

Matt Pike:

But if you don't have that automated manufacturing process, You can't reproduce

Matt Pike:

the needle the same way every time.

Matt Pike:

And therefore you can't increase the quality of the.

Matt Pike:

Well, at least it's very difficult to, so I think long-term

Matt Pike:

things will go towards that.

Matt Pike:

And I think users want high quality products.

Matt Pike:

So they're going to start weeding out the needles that are not as superior.

Michael Max:

Well, I think as an acupuncturist, I know for myself,

Michael Max:

I just want to know that I can open up a packet of needles and do my job

Michael Max:

without having to think too much about.

Michael Max:

How's this needle going to work.

Michael Max:

I mean, on occasion I go to insert in the needle and it's like, something's not

Michael Max:

quite right with the way it's going in it, but it is so phenomenally rare these days.

Michael Max:

Right.

Michael Max:

Um, I mean, I'd love handmade stuff, but I like the idea of non handmaiden.

Matt Pike:

Right.

Matt Pike:

Exactly.

Matt Pike:

Well, I think, um, it's, it's just a Testament that you're not the only

Matt Pike:

person out there with those requests.

Matt Pike:

And that's why companies like last Soma exists that are trying to weed out all

Matt Pike:

of the bad needles out there and making sure that any product that we sell, our

Matt Pike:

products that, um, That are quality and going to be able to do their job well.

Matt Pike:

So, um, I think you, along with, uh, all acupuncture

Matt Pike:

itself, there feel the same way.

Matt Pike:

Oh, this

Michael Max:

is, you know, clearly part of the evolution of our particular

Michael Max:

trade here in the states, like you were saying your stepfather, um, he was just

Michael Max:

looking to find some needles, period.

Michael Max:

Just get some needles.

Michael Max:

And now we're looking at, you know, very high tech stuff that, I mean,

Michael Max:

needles are simple and yet they're,

Matt Pike:

high-tech.

Matt Pike:

They are.

Matt Pike:

And I think, you know, if it was just somebody putting a needle in the body,

Matt Pike:

that's one thing, but the acupuncturist there's a little bit more there.

Matt Pike:

You guys are trained to be able to understand, you know, I'm going

Matt Pike:

through this layer of the skin.

Matt Pike:

Now I'm going in through the muscle tissue and now I'm

Matt Pike:

touching bone and, and to be a.

Matt Pike:

Feel all those different areas of the body and be able to do your job well,

Matt Pike:

uh, requires a refined needle that is going to be able to support that.

Matt Pike:

I think even though, like you said, at a high level, these

Matt Pike:

needles are very simplistic.

Matt Pike:

There's a lot of technology that goes into producing a high quality

Matt Pike:

needle, not to mention this.

Matt Pike:

Then, you know, that's the worst possible thing that could happen to

Matt Pike:

an acupuncturist is God forbid, a, a needle breaking in a human body.

Matt Pike:

And so dealing with these such small needles and making sure that the

Matt Pike:

needles are quality enough, that they won't have anything collapsed

Matt Pike:

during a treatment as is really.

Matt Pike:

So we spend a tremendous amount of time every year, analyzing all the needles

Matt Pike:

that we sell, as well as analyzing new needles and then for the U S market and

Matt Pike:

making sure we understand which needles are good, which needles aren't good.

Matt Pike:

And making decisions about what products to carry based on that.

Michael Max:

People like you out there on the front line, uh,

Michael Max:

checking this stuff out for us.

Michael Max:

I I'd like to get your thoughts on another aspect of needles here.

Michael Max:

There's there's often some discussion that I've heard among my colleagues

Michael Max:

about coded versus non coded needles.

Michael Max:

Can you tell us a bit about

Matt Pike:

this?

Matt Pike:

Yeah.

Matt Pike:

And that's an area where there's, there's a lot of confusion

Matt Pike:

about this subject, ultimately.

Matt Pike:

So coated needle helps the needle be inserted a little bit more easily.

Matt Pike:

The downfall is the FDA doesn't require any verbiage on the packaging to

Matt Pike:

suggest whether it is coded or not.

Matt Pike:

And then on top of that, I think there's also a tremendous amount of

Matt Pike:

confusion where we lost CMS, did a survey recently asking people about the needles

Matt Pike:

that they use and what's important.

Matt Pike:

And what was really surprising is a lot of the people were adamant.

Matt Pike:

I don't like Silicon coding or any type of coding on my needle for that

Matt Pike:

matter yet the needle that they said that they used did have Silicon coding,

Matt Pike:

or I don't, you know, or vice versa.

Matt Pike:

And we thought that was really surprising that there's so much confusion about it.

Matt Pike:

And on top of that, there's many different types of coding.

Matt Pike:

There's, periling coding, there's Teflon, coding, there's

Matt Pike:

different types of Silicon oils.

Matt Pike:

And then there's.

Matt Pike:

The more Silicon like Seren, for example, uses a particular type of Silicon.

Matt Pike:

That only goes on the first few millimeters of the.

Matt Pike:

And they can get away with this because the needle body is so polished

Matt Pike:

that they don't need extra Silicon to kind of mask any problems with

Matt Pike:

the needles, any roughness and such, but the silicone that Sarah uses for

Matt Pike:

instance is cured at temperature.

Matt Pike:

And when the Silicon is cute, it's actually a hard substance.

Matt Pike:

It's not an oil that doesn't come.

Matt Pike:

Of the needle and it needs an industrial solvent to be able to remove it.

Matt Pike:

So there is a lot of confusion and there is a lot of technology behind this.

Matt Pike:

Um, and I I'll be the first to admit, I don't know a tremendous amount about

Matt Pike:

it, except that that silicone, that Seren uses is a very special Silicon.

Matt Pike:

That's used in a lot of hypodermic needles, but I do know that people

Matt Pike:

in there's a preference, some people love, so it comes some people.

Matt Pike:

Don't want Silicon in there is, and this confusion out there.

Matt Pike:

So that's something we'll have to work on in the coming years to try to rectify.

Michael Max:

And it sounds like the FDA does not require this

Michael Max:

information to be on the package.

Michael Max:

And so it can be very difficult for the end user acupuncturist in

Michael Max:

this case to actually know what.

Matt Pike:

Well, I'll tell you even more surprising.

Matt Pike:

There was a company, again, I'm not going to name names, but there was a company

Matt Pike:

that has needles in the United States that we approached and were testing.

Matt Pike:

As I mentioned, we do these tests annually, our needles, and then

Matt Pike:

periodically with other brands of needles.

Matt Pike:

We were able to find that there was a coding on the needle and we asked the

Matt Pike:

company, what kind of coding do you have?

Matt Pike:

And they said, our needles aren't coded.

Matt Pike:

So we sent it off to a lab where they did a test and they were able

Matt Pike:

to show that there was, um, I don't remember all the chemicals, but

Matt Pike:

silicone of some sort on the needle.

Matt Pike:

And it was shocking to us to hear that.

Matt Pike:

So maybe the importer of the needle didn't realize, and the manufacturer

Matt Pike:

wasn't telling them, but again, it just compounds that problem even.

Matt Pike:

It is something that we need to, to work work on more.

Matt Pike:

That being said, Silicon oils.

Matt Pike:

And the Silicon I talked about with that Seren uses have been

Matt Pike:

prevalent in hypodermic needles since the beginning of time.

Matt Pike:

And the average amount of Silicon in a hypodermic needle is somewhere along

Matt Pike:

the lines of 10,000 times more Silicon than I'm an acupuncture needle, just

Matt Pike:

by virtue of the diameter being lard or the length being large of these needles

Matt Pike:

and people who have insulin issues.

Matt Pike:

Uh, taking insulin diabetics.

Matt Pike:

I mean, they're, they're pop putting those needles in their

Matt Pike:

body over and over and over again.

Matt Pike:

And there's no, you don't hear about problems with them.

Matt Pike:

And if so, in my personal opinion, which may not matter much, I think it's fairly

Matt Pike:

safe and it's an accepted thing in the medical industry, but that being said.

Matt Pike:

It's something that, uh, companies probably should be more transparent about.

Michael Max:

Yeah.

Michael Max:

I did not realize that hypodermic needles for a long time, as you

Michael Max:

say, have used Silicon coating.

Michael Max:

That was not even in my awareness and that this is a very standard

Michael Max:

medical practice to coat

Matt Pike:

needles.

Matt Pike:

Right.

Matt Pike:

And a lot of the needle manufacturers actually produce

Matt Pike:

their own silicone as well.

Matt Pike:

So it's, I think that's been that way for many, many, many years.

Matt Pike:

You

Michael Max:

mentioned that you you're constantly looking at products,

Michael Max:

you're reviewing products, you're constantly testing for quality.

Michael Max:

What kind of quality tests do you do?

Michael Max:

I mean, you sound a little bit like an urban Porter in that.

Michael Max:

Oh, we, we have this product come in.

Michael Max:

Let's let's see what we actually

Matt Pike:

have.

Matt Pike:

Well, there's a lot that goes in the manufacturing needle and

Matt Pike:

there's a lot behind the scenes that one may not even realize.

Matt Pike:

So when we do tests on needles, Obvious things like tensile strength, we test

Matt Pike:

things like the angle of the needle.

Matt Pike:

Not only do we test the needle tip, but we may the angle that the needle tip makes,

Matt Pike:

but we also measure the consistency.

Matt Pike:

So if you see a needle tip that one needle is very pointed and

Matt Pike:

the next needle is not so pointed.

Matt Pike:

Red flags come up right away.

Matt Pike:

Hey, these are hands.

Matt Pike:

Similarly you measure the length of the needle.

Matt Pike:

Is the needle length, always 30 millimeters, let's say for the particular

Matt Pike:

lot you're looking at, or is it sometimes 35 and sometimes 22 or 25.

Matt Pike:

And that'll tell you a lot about their quality control and whether it's say it's

Matt Pike:

using an automated manufacturing process or is it done by hand, but then there's

Matt Pike:

also items that are quite a bit more, less obvious, like needle cleanliness.

Matt Pike:

Well, there's a lot of needles out in the world market that are just not clean.

Matt Pike:

I think I mentioned earlier with the Seren manufacturing process, they go

Matt Pike:

through all of these different baths to be able to clean the needles from

Matt Pike:

alkaline to acid and trying to get rid of all the residual byproduct of

Matt Pike:

the manufacturing grinding process.

Matt Pike:

So cleanliness is a big deal and it doesn't matter how if you

Matt Pike:

sterilize the product of it's still.

Matt Pike:

Dirt on it, the residual manufacturing stuff.

Matt Pike:

That's not good.

Matt Pike:

So you've probably seen when you've inserted say an inexpensive needle

Matt Pike:

into someone's body and you may remove it and see a little dark spot.

Matt Pike:

And that's, that's residual elements from manufacturing.

Matt Pike:

So needle cleanliness is one, does the needle detached from the handle.

Matt Pike:

So you put a needle into a very thick muscle and you pull it out.

Matt Pike:

Well, the needle detached from the, from the needle handle on that.

Matt Pike:

So that's a big thing that we'll test.

Matt Pike:

Also, if it's, again, if it's an automated manufacturing process,

Matt Pike:

you can reproduce the process you did to assemble the needle.

Matt Pike:

If it's made by hand, you can't and then there's going

Matt Pike:

to be discrepancies in those.

Matt Pike:

And then another one that's that is not obvious at all is

Matt Pike:

even the blister packaging.

Matt Pike:

It has nothing to do with the needle itself at all, but the.

Matt Pike:

Blister package, believe it or not.

Matt Pike:

And people can test this at home when they open their favorite needle

Matt Pike:

and you peel back the blister pack.

Matt Pike:

Can you find holes in the glue?

Matt Pike:

That's holding that blister pack together.

Matt Pike:

And if you can find a hole where you say, oh, there's a little.

Matt Pike:

Area that's missing with the glue that's, uh, opportunity for air or other

Matt Pike:

things to get into the blister pack that could compromise the sterility

Matt Pike:

of the needle in the long run.

Matt Pike:

So at any rate, there's many different things like that we look at, but then we'd

Matt Pike:

do penetration testing tests, uh, that allows us to understand like how rough the

Matt Pike:

needle is, whether it has Silicon coding or other types of cordings, et cetera.

Matt Pike:

So it's a fairly extensive test.

Matt Pike:

We do.

Matt Pike:

Some of the things are more important than others, but it gives us.

Matt Pike:

Kind of a high level.

Matt Pike:

We also test for bacteria and we test for mold.

Matt Pike:

So it's a quite a lengthy process.

Matt Pike:

Uh, more recently, you know, we've been more interested in softer

Matt Pike:

needles and stiffer needles.

Matt Pike:

So we're testing for those things as well, just to kind of get a, a breakdown

Matt Pike:

of, of where our needles fit and, uh, whether anything has changed as well

Matt Pike:

as, you know, what, what needles out in the U S market or world market.

Matt Pike:

I like as well.

Matt Pike:

You

Michael Max:

mentioned softer, harder needles.

Michael Max:

That's not something that I think about when I think about

Michael Max:

using an acupuncture needle.

Michael Max:

What are the issues or benefits of a harder or softer needle?

Matt Pike:

Well, It's really a matter of personal preference, but, uh, as time

Matt Pike:

is going on, um, for facial acupuncture, for instance, a softer needle in general

Matt Pike:

is more comfortable unless it gets to an extreme point where it's too soft

Matt Pike:

and it's too difficult to insert and you can't control the direction of the

Matt Pike:

tip, but even then there's applications like in, in Japan, Students who are

Matt Pike:

learning acupuncture will use very special, soft tip needles to be able to

Matt Pike:

practice their insertions and make sure that they can control that tip better.

Matt Pike:

On the flip side, stiffer needles are, um, are generally for longer.

Matt Pike:

Needles that are being entered into the body.

Matt Pike:

So veterinarians, for instance, need long stiff needles, not veterinarians

Matt Pike:

for the small, uh, animals, but I'm thinking more of a horses or

Matt Pike:

sports acupuncture where they're inserting needles in the deep tissues.

Matt Pike:

Uh, they may benefit from longer thicker needles.

Matt Pike:

Well, if you want to make it more painless, So then you want to decrease

Matt Pike:

the gauge, but as you decrease the gauge, the needle becomes flimsier.

Matt Pike:

So what techniques can you use from a manufacturing perspective

Matt Pike:

to make those needle stiffer?

Matt Pike:

So there's all sorts of things from using different types of metal to

Matt Pike:

different manufacturing process.

Matt Pike:

They can use to try to make it stiffer.

Matt Pike:

I

Michael Max:

see.

Michael Max:

Well, you know, that brings us to.

Michael Max:

One of the big things I wanted to speak with you about today, which

Michael Max:

is here at the sports acupuncture, alliances, uh, conference that we're at.

Michael Max:

There's a new needle being introduced and it's, and it's been

Michael Max:

sort of designed here in the west.

Michael Max:

Can you tell us about that?

Matt Pike:

Yeah.

Matt Pike:

So when you say design here in the west, let me just preface that, that we have a

Matt Pike:

large network of researchers and educators that we work with, and they're constantly

Matt Pike:

providing us feedback on how we can improve the existing products we have and

Matt Pike:

how we can develop new products that would help them in their, in their research

Matt Pike:

or their education or their practices.

Matt Pike:

So the new needle that we are developing is sports acupuncture needle.

Matt Pike:

It's going to be slightly stiffer, like we talked about.

Matt Pike:

So it can, you can have thinner needles that are good.

Matt Pike:

Less invasive, less painful yet provide the same amount of stiffness.

Matt Pike:

And we also, I mean, we have two needles that we're going to be

Matt Pike:

launching then, uh, one that we've already kind of pre-launched uh, maybe

Matt Pike:

six months ago called the Sarah and G type and the Seren G type also had.

Matt Pike:

Uh, dad had benefit that it has a slightly, like if you look at it next

Matt Pike:

to another needle, it looks identical.

Matt Pike:

But when you start zooming into a couple of hundred times

Matt Pike:

magnification, you'll notice that the needle tip is actually rounded.

Matt Pike:

So there's a lot of interesting developments going on right now in the, in

Matt Pike:

the field of kind of sports, acupuncture and stiffer needles and rounded tips.

Matt Pike:

That's really exciting, but yes, we're going to be launching a needle

Matt Pike:

called the pro max from dong bong.

Michael Max:

Great.

Michael Max:

You mentioned a rounder tip to the needle.

Michael Max:

What's the, what's the thought behind the

Matt Pike:

benefit of that?

Matt Pike:

Yeah.

Matt Pike:

Interesting.

Matt Pike:

So Sarah has a research, let's just say a state-of-the-art research and

Matt Pike:

development department and they have one job and that's improving their needle.

Matt Pike:

Let's say two jobs, inventing new needles and improving them

Matt Pike:

and going back in history.

Matt Pike:

And this is why when I talk about Sarah and why I'm specifically talking about

Matt Pike:

their research and development program is you can remember back in the earlier

Matt Pike:

part of our conversation, that Seren revolutionized industry by creating

Matt Pike:

the first single use disposable needle, but along the way, Like every couple of

Matt Pike:

years, they're constantly reinventing themselves and, and improving their,

Matt Pike:

uh, their products and just have kind of notable things that they've done.

Matt Pike:

They produce the first single use disposable needle.

Matt Pike:

They produce the thinnest needle.

Matt Pike:

So the 0.10 millimeter.

Matt Pike:

Sarah and J 15 is a finished needle in the world.

Matt Pike:

So even that in and of itself is a Marvel and being able to create that,

Matt Pike:

to make that thin needle be stiff.

Matt Pike:

So that's kind of the first inkling of when we started talking about

Matt Pike:

different needles, they have the shortest needle 0.3 millimeters, and

Matt Pike:

then behind the scenes every year.

Matt Pike:

Processes to tighten their tolerances and make their needles better.

Matt Pike:

Like I mentioned, then the needle tip angle, the lengths of the needles,

Matt Pike:

you know, bringing those tolerances down to, to make it better and better.

Matt Pike:

But you need that state of the art manufacturing, research and development

Matt Pike:

department to be able to do these things.

Matt Pike:

So it's, it's really fun to work with these guys to do this, to

Matt Pike:

answer your question about the needle tip and the Roundup.

Matt Pike:

Yeah, this is all coming from Saron.

Matt Pike:

And to talk about it, conceptually is if you have a needle that's incredibly

Matt Pike:

sharp, that needle will penetrate and cut through all the tissue that

Matt Pike:

you're inserting the needle into.

Matt Pike:

But if that needle is more rounded, it just doesn't cut through everything.

Matt Pike:

And it's.

Matt Pike:

If there's a higher probability that it'll help push the skin molecules

Matt Pike:

aside, help push that small little vein that it, that it touches.

Matt Pike:

And so in conceptually it kind of makes sense, but in practice they

Matt Pike:

were testing on for facial acupuncture and realizing that that needed.

Matt Pike:

Actually produces less bruising.

Matt Pike:

So this is stuff that's, you know, will be coming down the

Matt Pike:

pike, uh, in, in years to come.

Matt Pike:

So we ended up deciding the launch at first with the G type needle

Matt Pike:

and it's, it's there to be less painful and minimize bruising.

Matt Pike:

And it say it's just an amazing technology that, that allows them to do that.

Matt Pike:

Yeah.

Michael Max:

When I.

Michael Max:

Around a ticket.

Michael Max:

I mean, it makes me think about hydrodynamics.

Michael Max:

And when you think about boats, especially big ships, they don't

Michael Max:

have a sharp edge to their bow.

Michael Max:

They're often have these, these rounded bulbous bowels, because it, it goes

Michael Max:

through the water in a more smooth way.

Michael Max:

Interesting.

Michael Max:

And it's um, yeah, and it sounds like with the acupuncture

Michael Max:

needles, this is a similar thing.

Michael Max:

You can either sort of slide between things with a rounded.

Michael Max:

Or cut through things with a sharper tip.

Michael Max:

And I would say I'm thinking for myself as a practitioner, having the ability

Michael Max:

to go sort of around rather than through, or to be able to sort of sneak

Michael Max:

something into a place without being invasive about it makes a big difference.

Michael Max:

Matt, is there anything else that you'd like to share with our listeners before

Michael Max:

we, uh, get back to the conference?

Matt Pike:

I think we covered a lot.

Matt Pike:

I call, I guess one thing I'd like to say is that we're all in one of the

Matt Pike:

most exciting areas of medicine, and I'm really just thankful for having you, um,

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