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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2012, Article ID 612545, 10 pages
Research Article

Exploration of New Electroacupuncture Needle Material

1Acupuncture, Moxibustion & Meridian Research Center, Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine, Daejeon 305-811, Republic of Korea
2Technical Research Center, Dong Bang Acupuncture, Inc., Boryeong 355-851, Republic of Korea

Received 25 November 2011; Revised 24 January 2012; Accepted 24 January 2012

Academic Editor: Xinyan Gao

Copyright © 2012 Sanghun Lee et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Electro Acupuncture (EA) uses the acupuncture needle as an electrode to apply low-frequency stimulation. For its safe operation, it is essential to prevent any corrosion of the acupuncture needle. Objective. The aim of this study is to find an available material and determine the possibility of producing a standard EA needle that is biocompatible. Methods. Biocompatibility was tested by an MTT assay and cytotoxicity testing. Corrosion was observed with a scanning electron microscope (SEM) after 0.5 mA, 60 min stimulation. The straightness was measured using a gap length of 100 mm, and tensile testing was performed by imposing a maximum tensile load. Results. Phosphor bronze, Ni coated SS304, were deemed inappropriate materials because of mild-to-moderate cytotoxicity and corrosion. Ti-6Al-4V and SS316 showed no cytotoxicity or corrosion. Ti-6Al-4V has a 70 times higher cost and 2.5 times lower conductivity than SS316. The results of both straightness and tensile testing confirmed that SS316 can be manufactured as a standard product. Conclusion. As a result, we confirmed that SS316 can be used a new EA electrode material. We hope that a further study of the maximum capacity of low-frequency stimulation using an SS316 for safe operation.