Press tacks, also called press needles, are similar to ear seeds in that they consist of a small square bandage and are applied directly to the skin. But press tacks have a small 1-1.5mm needle attached whereas ear seeds have a small ball of herbs or metal.
They can be used in areas that are too painful, or at the wrong angle or position for a regular needle. They are also commonly given to patients for extending treatment at home.
Here are some basic instructions for the use of press tacks at home
- Do not use over swollen areas, or areas where skin is very dry or broken. If they cause irritation, stop using.
- Make sure the area is clean and dry before you apply the tack.
- Peel the sticker from the plastic backing, you should see a small needle sticking out perpendicularly. If the needle is missing, discard and try again. If it is significantly bent, it may be helpful to try to straighten it.
- Gently place a corner of the sticker on the skin, position the needle so it will make contact with the skin as straight as possible, and then gently push or tap until the sticker is fully adhered. You may feel a small prick or pinch – that sensation is a good thing!
- You do not need to push it hard enough to break the skin. If you do, be sure to care for the area afterwards.
- You can apply the tacks to any painful and tight spots in the area you are addressing with treatment, or use acupuncture points shown to you by your practitioner. Remember, acupuncture points can be in slightly different locations from person to person, feel around to find the tenderest or tightest spot in the area suggested.
- It’s best not to nap or go to sleep with them in, as they may come off and end up where you would not want to have them. If you want to keep them in, please put a piece of medical tape or similar over the tack to keep it in place as you rest.
- Your practitioner may give you different instructions, but your press tacks can remain on for up to 8 hours. You should stimulate them often, pressing into them to create or increase sensation.
- When done, throw them in the trash after folding them so the needle is embedded in the sticker. You may also discard in a hard sided container (hard plastic or glass) or a biohazard container.