Japanese Acupuncture and Moxibustion (Online)

JAM  2023;Vol.17:12-18

The Influence of Different Hand Hygiene Operations on the Hygiene of Acupuncture Needles - Including a Comparison of the Influence of Acupuncturist's Eyesight

TSUNEMATSU Mikako1,2), IMAI Motoyuki3,4), IMAI Kenji1,2)
1) Department of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, Faculty of Health Care, Teikyo Heisei University
2) Institute of Oriental Medicine, Teikyo Heisei University
3) Department of Electrical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Tokyo University of Science
4) Department of Applied Chemistry, Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Hosei University


[Background] It is important to keep acupuncture needles clean to prevent infections, therefore keeping acupuncturists' hands clean is also necessary. In Japan, the job of an acupuncturist is not only for sighted people but also for visually impaired people. Whether visually impaired or not, acupuncture needles should be kept clean.
Objectives: This study aimed to evaluate the condition of pathogenic microorganisms adhering to acupuncture needles for each hand hygiene condition including differences of acupuncturists' eyesight.
[Methods] The subjects were 10 visually impaired acupuncturists and 12 sighted acupuncturists. The acupuncturists touched the acupuncture needles with their fingers under four conditions: bare hands before washing their hands, bare hands after washing their hands and scrubbing, using nitrile gloves without disinfecting their hands and using nitrile gloves and then swabbing with ethanol. After touching the needles, we incubated the needles using agar plates and checked for bacterial colony appearance.
[Results] Before hand washing, bacterial colonies were detected on 11 of the 22 acupuncture needles after all subjects touched them. After washing their hands and scrubbing, bacterial colonies were detected on 4 of the 22 acupuncture needles after all subjects had touched them. Using gloves without disinfecting their hands, bacterial colonies were detected on only 2 of the 22 acupuncture needles after all subjects touched them. No bacteria were detected on the acupuncture needles in any subjects when gloves were used and swabbed with ethanol.
Comparison between bare hands before washing their hands and after the three hand hygiene operations showed a difference in colony appearance (P=0.01). Bacterial colony detection patterns did not reveal differences between visually impaired and sighted acupuncturists.
[Conclusions] Proper hand hygiene operations during acupuncture operations reduce bacterial contamination of acupuncture needles regardless of the acupuncturists' eyesight.

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