The method of needling I have just described is the standard one which I use routinely. However, it is also possible to treat at least some patients using very minimal stimulation, the needle being inserted gently for no more than 2 mm and withdrawn almost at once. This method is of course less painful than the standard one, and in some patients it actually has stronger effects. (Incidentally, this shows the impracticability of carrying out so-called placebo acupuncture in research.)
As the name implies, this consists in direct needling of the periosteum. It usually produces a rather unpleasant kind of pain, which is quite distinctive. The technique consists in ‘pecking’ the periosteum, and very brief needling is usually enough (5 to 10 seconds). Particularly in the head and neck it should be done very lightly; in the lumbar region it sometimes causes no sensation at all.