Over the course of the year, I designed and built a little outdoor workshop and smithy where I could try to transform my meteorite into a needle. I figured that, since everything was on such a small scale, I could make a forge out of a blow torch and a fire brick or two. All that was left to do was to actually make the needle! So, the other day, I took advantage of the break in rain and got to work.
It took a day of firing and pounding, and another day of straightening and polishing, heat-treating and oil-quenching, and now I have my very own hand-made meteorite needle!
|Slowly taking shape|
|Final version, with manzanita carrying case.|
Dimensions: At 2 grams and 6.7 centimeters, my needle is a little lighter and shorter than my gold and silver teishin. It handles very nicely and gets an instant qi sensation when touched to the skin.
Polarity: Acupuncturists who use teishin may wonder how I determined which end should be the pokey sedating end and which the rounded tonifying end. Unlike the gold and silver of the traditional teishin pair, iron, nickel, and cobalt are all strongly ferromagnetic. These metals lose their magnetism at high heat (called the Curie temperature; about 770 degrees C for iron) and then remagnetize as they cool if they are subjected to an external magnetic field. Since I was heating and cooling the needle in the earth's magnetic field, I made a point of aligning the needle as it cooled on a north-south axis so that the rounded end faces north and is thus more tonifying. Please note there is some controversy about what the poles of a magnet do, therapeutically speaking, and even about how they are named. Because I admire his experimental and clinical approach, I am adopting Yoshio Manaka's method and deem the north-facing end (+) to be tonifying. Personally, I think that needling technique is the more important determinant of what happens in a patient's body during a treatment. I am not a practitioner of magnet therapy per se, but figured that since my needle will be magnetic by nature, its polarity should be theoretically consistent with the use of magnets in acupuncture.