|Publication number||US3875944 A|
|Publication date||Apr 8, 1975|
|Filing date||Feb 4, 1974|
|Priority date||Feb 4, 1974|
|Publication number||US 3875944 A, US 3875944A, US-A-3875944, US3875944 A, US3875944A|
|Inventors||Philip M Toyama|
|Original Assignee||Philip M Toyama|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (3), Referenced by (13), Classifications (13)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
United States Patent [1 1 Toyama HEATED ACUPUNCTURE NEEDLE AND METHOD OF USING THE SAME  Inventor: Philip M. Toyama, 400 Staffordshire Rd., Winston-Salem, NC. 27104  Filed: Feb. 4, 1974 211 Appl. No: 439,546
[ Apr. 8, 1975 Primary Examiner-Channing L. Pace Attorney, Agent, or FirmSherman & Shalloway  ABSTRACT An acupuncture needle is equipped with a shank portion of a first metal and a head portion of a second metal. After the shank portion is inserted through the skin, a heating element of molded charcoal having a recess therein to accommodate the head portion is slid over the head portion and rests thereon. Prior to mounting the heating element on the head portion, the end of the heating element which will face the skin in spaced relation thereto is ignited so that after the heating element is mounted, it will heat the acupuncture needle by conduction and will heat juxtaposed skin area by radiation.
4 Claims, 3 Drawing Figures PATENTEDAPR 81975 FIGZ FIG]
HEATED ACUPL'NCTURE NEEDLE AND METHOD OF USING THE SAME BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention relates to acupuncture needles and to methods of utilizing the same. More particularly, this invention relates to acupuncture needles and methods of utilizing the same wherein the needles are heated to enhance acupuncture treatment.
2. Technical Considerations and Prior Art It is known that heated acupuncture needles often produce better results in the treatment of chronic pains. Generally, prior art methods of heating acupuncture needles have not been entirely satisfactory be cause it has often been difficult to heat the needles gradually after they have been inserted. If the needles are preheated before insertion, they may cause considerable discomfort to the patient because of the initial shock of being touched by a hot needle. However, if the needle is gradually heated after it has been inserted, the problem of initial shock is obviated.
In order to avoid having to resterilize acupuncture needles after they are used, it is necessary to use disposable acupuncture needles, such as those suggested by and disclosed in the applicant's co-pending patent application, Ser. No. 435,990, filed Jan. 23, 1974. Ifthese needles are to be heated after implantation, there must also be some type of readily attachable heating means or device that can be utilized with these needles. The prior art discloses no such means or device. Accordingly, there is a need for a convenient heating means or device suitable for use with such an acupuncture needle.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In view of the al'ore-mentioned deficiencies of the rior art, it is an object of the instant invention to provide a new and improved acupuncture needle and method for using the same, wherein the needle is heated to enhance acupuncture treatment.
It is a further object of the instant invention to provide a new and improved acupuncture needle and method of using the same, wherein the acupuncture needle is heated after insertion through the skin to avoid the initial shock to the patient of a hot acupuncture needle.
It is still another object of the instant invention to provide a new and improved acupuncture needle and method of using the same, wherein an acupuncture needle which is readily disposable is heated after insertion through the skin.
It is an additional object of the instant invention to provide a new and improved acupuncture needle and method of using the same, wherein the acupuncture needle is heated with minimal danger of accidentally injuring the patient.
In keeping with these and other objects, the instant invention contemplates an acupuncture needle having first and second portions. wherein the first portion is inserted through the skin and the second portion remains exposed to be heated by a heat-applying means which is mounted thereon.
A method of performing acupuncture treatment in accordance with the principles of the instant invention includes the steps ofinserting one portion of the needle beneath the skin while leaving a second portion of the needle exposed. activating a heat-generating unit, and applying heat from the unit directly to the second portion of the needle. The heat flows from the heatgenerating unit directly to the second portion by conduction and indirectly to the skin surrounding the first portion by radiation and convection.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view ofan acupuncture needle which is utilized in accordance with the principles of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a heating unit preferably made of molded charcoal which is used to heat the acupuncture needle of FIG. 1; and
FIG. 3 is a perspective view showing just how the heating unit of FIG. 2 is mounted on the acupuncture needle of FIG. 1.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION Referring now to FIG. 1, there is shown an acupuncture needle, designated generally by the numeral 10, which is similar in geometric configuration to the acupuncture needles disclosed in applicants co-pending US. patent application, Ser. No. 435,990, filed Jan. 23, I974. The needle consists of a head portion 11, a shank portion 12 and a point 13. The head portion 11 is intended to remain exposed outside of the skin when the shank 12 is inserted partially through the skin. In order to maintain the sanitary condition of the needle 10, it may be packaged and inserted as described in the applicants afore-mentioned co-pending patent application.
Referring now to FIG. 2, there is shown a heating unit, designated generally by the numeral 14, which is intended for use with the acupuncture needle 10 of FIG. 1. The heating unit 14 has a cylindrical recess 16 extending therein which is configured and dimensioned to receive the head 11 of the acupuncture needle 10 which is also cylindrical.
To practice the instant invention, the needle 10 is inserted into the skin and the heating unit 14 is ignited or otherwise energized and placed over the inserted needle, as shown in FIG. 3. In this way, the needle 10 is heated after it is inserted to avoid discomfort to the patient.
In the preferred embodiment, the heating element 14 is made of molded charcoal which is ignited on the end 19 adjacent to the opening of the bore or recess 16 so as to face toward the skin 21 of the patient upon being mounted on the needle 10, as seen in FIG. 3. The charcoal will continue to produce heat for approximately 18 to 20 minutes, and due to its molded nature, will not disintegrate and drop hot ashes on the patient during treatment.
Instead of using charcoal, it is also possible to utilize a material such as moxa, which will burn for approximately two to three minutes, but must be retained in a shield to prevent ashes from dropping off and possibly burning the patient.
As seen in FIG. 3, the heating unit 14, which is preferably made of molded charcoal, is shown resting on the head 11 but spaced from skin 21 of the patient so that the burning end 19 ofthe unit will heat the skin 21 by radiation and slight convection while heating the head 11 by conduction. The conduction heat applied to head 11 flows down the shank 12 of the needle 10 all the way to its point 13, thus providing a penetrating heat treatment in conjunction with the acupuncture treatment. Simultaneously with the penetrating heat treatment, there is a gentle surface heat treatment of the skin 21 applied to the skin immediately below the ignited end 19 of the heating unit. By simultaneously heating the skin surface 21, blood circulation is increased in the areas surrounding the acupuncture needle, further enhancing the beneficial effect to nerves directly stimulated by the heated needle point 13.
In order to provide good heat transfer characteristics, the head is jacketed with copper while the shank 12 is made of stainless steel. By copper jacketing the head 11, heat is transferred rather quickly from the unit 14 to the needle 10 where it is conducted rapidly to the point 13.
In addition to heat transfer benefits obtained by copper jacketing the head 11 of the needle 10, it is also possible by suitable configuration to generate a mild thermal electric current at the point 13 of the needle 10 due to the thermal couple effect created by having dissimilar metals, one of which is heated to a higher temperature than the other.
While it is preferable to use a charcoal heating unit, such as the unit 14, it should be kept in mind that it is also possible to use an electrical unit or another type of ignitable unit, such as a carefully designed alcohol burner, and still remain within the scope of the instant invention.
The afore-described device and method are merely illustrative ofone embodiment of the instant invention, which is to be limited only by the recitations of the following appended claims.
What is claimed is: 1. An acupuncture needle for insertion through the skin comprising:
a first portion for penetration of the skin made of a first metal, a second portion which remains exposed after the first portion penetrates the skin wherein the second portion has a greater diameter than the first portion and includes a metal different from the first metal, and
means for applying heat to the second portion wherein said heat applying means has a recess extending therein which approximates the diameter of the second portion so as to slide in telescoping relationship down over the second portion.
2. An acupuncture needle according to claim 1 wherein the first metal is stainless steel and the second metal is copper.
3. An apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the means for applying heat is a unit of solid material which does not disintegrate as the heat is applied.
4. An apparatus according to claim 3 wherein the means for applying heat is charcoal molded into a cylinder and the recess extends into the cylinder along the axis of the cylinder but not entirely through the cylinder so that the charcoal is retained on the second portion in spaced relation to the skin. l l =l
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|U.S. Classification||606/189, 128/907, 607/113|
|International Classification||A61H39/08, A61H39/06, A61B18/06|
|Cooperative Classification||A61B18/06, Y10S128/907, A61H39/06, A61H39/08|
|European Classification||A61H39/08, A61H39/06, A61B18/06|