As a healthcare provider and member of the community, the safety and wellbeing of my patients is my top priority, and though the global pandemic necessitated the temporary closing of the office for in-person appointments, that does not mean that the care I provide at Empirical Point has stopped. I am offering Virtual Visit appointments featuring a customized combination of one-on-one virtual guidance and the use of stick-on microneedles to treat conditions as wide ranging as stress, anxiety, insomnia, and lower back pain.
The stick-on shallow needle is an intradermal needle that is sterile, safe and easy to apply with direction, and can achieve great results as either a stand-alone treatment or to amplify and support in-office treatments.
The History of Microneedling
Stick-on microneedles are far more than an alternative to the longer shafted filiform needles that are typically used in traditional, in-office treatments. They are used extensively in Japanese Acupuncture techniques, as well as in sports medicine Acupuncture, and their use was documented centuries ago. The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine, a foundational treatise written in 2600 BC, provides an in-depth guide to the methods and strategies used In Chinese medicine, and documents that there were originally nine different types of needles prescribed and used in acupuncture treatments. The presenting issue as well as the treatment strategy dictated the correct needle to use. Though most of the needles fell out of favor over time, superficial microneedles have always maintained a prominent position.
Studies Investigating the Effectiveness of Stick-On Microneedle Therapies
There have been numerous scientific studies investigating and confirming the impact of stick-on microneedling tape for a wide range of maladies.
Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness
A study investigating whether stick-on microneedling tape could minimize delayed-onset muscle soreness enlisted 149 male and female athletes who participated in a triathlon. Half were provided with the needles and half with placebos. The tape was placed on the participants immediately before the race and removed immediately after. Comparisons of the changes in muscle soreness before, immediately after and the day after the race showed that though both the placebo group and the microneedling group described increased soreness immediately after the race was completed, by the next day the group with the tape had returned to their pre-race condition while the placebo group’s soreness had not diminished to the same extent. The researchers believe that the needles more quickly eliminated lactic acid.
A group of 53 patients with previously diagnosed shoulder muscle tightness were randomly divided into a microneedling group and a placebo group. Both groups had tape placed on points with muscle tightness for a period of three days. Following removal of the tape only 43% of the group that had been treated with the microneedling tape continued to feel shoulder stiffness compared to 92% of the placebo group.
Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction
Also known as TMJ, temporomandibular joint dysfunction involves pain and clicking in the jaw and surrounding muscles. A study of 43 male and female patients between the ages of 23 and 58 were treated with microneedling tape, which was applied to specific acupoints and then gently pressed and kneaded over a 24-hour period for a minute or two at a time while the patients were asked to open and close their mouths. Each patient was treated twice a week over three weeks. Over half were completely cured, with pain disappearing, normal movement restored and the clicking of the joint eliminated.
A group of acupuncture patients being treated for chronic knee pain were broken into two different groups of 60, with one group receiving a combination of acupuncture , moxibustion and massage and the other group receiving the same treatment followed by the use of microneedling tape kept on for 24-48 hours after being applied. Both groups receive treatment every two days, three times a week over a two-week period. Three months later both had experienced a reduction in symptoms, but those who were treated using the microneedling tape showed less of a need for further treatment or pain relief, with none requiring painkillers compared to 9 in the control group and only one in the microneedling group requiring further treatment with acupuncture, compared to 5 in the control group.
A study of acupuncture’s effectiveness in the treatment of depression utilized microneedling tape specifically because the extremely shallow length of the needles in the press-on tape could be tested against placebo: the actual needling tape vs a tape without needles look the same, which is impossible to achieve with longer acupuncture needles. The study enlisted twelve healthy patients and 30 inpatients from a psychiatric hospital diagnosed with medication-resistant depression. Each was given the microneedling or sham tape for a 72-hour period and tested via psychological assessments and electrocardiography before and after treatment. Those who received the microneedling treatment showed significant improvement in their Beck’s Depression Inventory scores, as well as in their vagal function and blood pressure, confirming the positive effect of acupuncture on depression.
As you can see, microneedling is very effective, and offers a viable option for continuing the momentum of your acupuncture treatment regimen when an In-office visit is not feasible. It provides both significant, effective relief and a much-needed sense of empowerment over your health in a time when we are all feeling a lack of control.
Microneedling Therapy at Empirical Point Acupuncture
Sharon Sherman has been licensed to practice acupuncture and Oriental Medicine since 2001 and holds the highest credential available from both the Pennsylvania State Board of Medicine and the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Through In-person and virtual appointments, her expertise allows her to select and employ the best therapy for her patients’ unique presentation.