The 1st edition of Congress The Journey of the Needle was held in Maastricht the Netherlands 8-9 Oktober 2016. TJotN objective is to focus on the use of acupuncture needles in Healthcare.

Evoluon restaurant, vernieuwd: gezond & duurzaam

Van website Evoluon:
In het vernieuwde en moderne restaurant heeft u alle ruimte en onze Barista bereidt graag een koffiespecialiteit naar keuze. Geen zaken op een nuchtere maag: U heeft de keuze uit een goed gevulde kaart voor een lunch of diner. Onze chef werkt uitsluitend met verse ingredienten vanuit Hutten’s duurzame huislabel De Guijt. Smaakvol en gezond.

Het Evoluon 1960-1970( for dutch translation scroll down)

The inspiration for the Evoluon Eindhoven started at the end of the 1950s. Philips had surprised friend and foe with the Philips pavilion during the first post-war world exhibition in Brussels. ‘Le Poeme Electronique’ attracted more than 1 million visitors in six months. The costs for a temporary exhibition, however, were pretty hefty.
During a dinner by Frits Philips with his ‘artistic right hand’ Louis Kalff the ambition to set up a permanent exhibition space is discussed again. According to tradition, Louis Kalff sketches 3 striking buildings, including the futuristic-looking flying saucer.
In 1963, the construction of the Evoluon Eindhoven started energetically. Partly because of the extremely harsh winters, it is in many ways a feat that the festive completion could take place in 1966. The jubilee gift from Philips to the city of Eindhoven and its people is a fact.


Het evoluon 1970-1980

From the opening to the earliest early 80s, the Evoluon experiences its heyday as a public attraction. The top year was 1970, in which no less than 527,000 visitors passed the entrance gates for an unforgettable visit to an interactive exhibition.
Visitors still vividly remember the red “counters” at the entrance that counted the number of tickets. Numerous fascinating themes were offered on the 3 rings. Health, modern comfort, relaxation, the importance of knowledge and science, communication and traffic and the problems of the ever-growing world population.
Interesting topics were discussed in more depth. In an accessible manner, the general public was explained the working of radar, telephone, satellites, television and many other modern products. Interaction played an important role in this. Learning happened with ease. Learning became an experience.

De inspiratie voor het Evoluon Eindhoven begon eind jaren ’50. Philips had vriend en vijand verrast met het Philipspaviljoen tijdens de eerste naoorlogse wereldtentoonstelling in Brussel. ‘Le Poeme Electronique’ trok in een half jaar meer dan 1 miljoen bezoekers. De kosten voor een tijdelijke expositie waren echter behoorlijk fors.
Tijdens een etentje van Frits Philips met zijn ‘artistieke rechterhand’ Louis Kalff komt de ambitie om een permanente expositieruimte in te richten weer ter sprake. Volgens de overlevering schetst Louis Kalff 3 markante gebouwen, waaronder de futuristisch ogende vliegende schotel.
In 1963 wordt voortvarend gestart met de bouw van het Evoluon Eindhoven. Mede door de extreem strenge winters is het in meerdere opzichten een huzarenstukje dat de feestelijke oplevering al in 1966 kon plaatsvinden. Het jubileumcadeau van Philips aan de stad Eindhoven en haar bevolking is een feit.


Mingling with people similar to us (and equally avoiding the ones we don’t like). Getting information from sources that say what we like to hear. Reading newspapers that appeal to us. Supporting a political movement. Tuning into a broadcaster of our choice. Swiping right. Swiping left. We are constantly making choices in order to accommodate the world to our liking. It seems natural to all of us.

When focussing on the information we ingest, media, and specially social media seems to be serving this purpose perfectly. Feeds (not to speak of search results) are nowadays highly personalized, tailor-made to nurture our specific interests. We are now able to craft our personal (digital) environment with people we like, messages we subscribe to, leaders we follow, views we agree on. We are always one quick click away from banning, unsubscribing, discarding all content that doesn’t appeal to our taste. To each his own and live and let live. That doesn’t sound bad, right?… right?


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Written by Dirkjan Heijne Alarcon, Docsave GmbH



The focus of tJotN is the use of acupuncture needles in Healthcare.  Acupuncture needles or needle like instruments have been a part of the medical instrumentarium throughout centuries in the East as well as the West, but the most detailed  contribution comes from TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine). And most of us will make associations of this kind. But in fact the use of acupuncture needles is much broader. It covers a whole lot of styles and along with it possibilities of treating your patients.
Could we define commonalities and differences?


1.The use of acupuncture needles or needle like devices.

Roughly speaking needle types range from non-invasive ones used in soft needling like japanese techniques to the more aggresive ones used in acupotomology

Other examples ( in miscellaneous order and not complete!):

2. Mode of action

Definition of  the overall mode of action:
To evoke a therapeutic response either local or at a defined target in a body structure, with the use of an acupuncture needle or needle like instrument via points or areas on the body.

3. Hands on.

A typicality that is shared in needling is the feature of being a hands on intervention. This implies that the specific effect lies within the hands of the therapist rather than in the intervention itself like in medication or is a responsibility of the patient as is the case in excercise or lifestyle changes. From a scientific standpoint this makes needling a more closer resemblance to surgery than to pharmaceuticals. Hence the way of scientific conduct should be different.

And How do styles differ?

1. Although all needling evokes a therapeutic response either local or central, needling styles mainly differ in the way how modes of action are explained.
As in all interventions, needling styles are based on theories that define the manner (how and why) of the specific style of needling. They explain the effect of the needling. Theories can be roughly divided in traditional ones and western medical ones. The style of the traditional ones are embedded in eastern cosmological frameworks whereas the western medical ones uses the body’s anatomy and physiology. E.g. points in acupuncture are meaningful units that all have a relation with a mind body interconnected perception of the human body. In contrast with the  western medical deductive view which uses a biomedical or neurophysiological viewpoint of the human body.  The choice of style is mainly a personal choice.

2. Manipulations

Although the overall aim is shared in needling styles the specific manipulation techniques can differ . Manipulation can be performed by hand or by a device.

With each theory comes a different prescription of manipulation of the needle.

3.Type of needle
There is a huge variation in needle types linked to the different styles of needling.


Johanna Biemans

evoluon eindhoven

The choice for this years congress venue Evoluon Eindhoven hasn’t been accidental. The dutch Evoluon is the iconic place to be in The Netherlands when it comes to sharing of (scientific) knowledge and innovation.

Read here some of its history.
During the past decades, The Dutch Evoluon Eindhoven has had various destinations. In the first place, dr. Ir. Frits Philips (from Philips* company) had in mind a permanent exhibition space for the general public.
Years later, the Evoluon got a new destination. The futuristic building started to function as the Philips Competence Center. From this capacity, the Evoluon has grown to the multifunctional conference center and event location that it is now.

Opening Evoluon Prins Bernhard, Philips FJ, 24-9-1966 Left Prince Bernhard, right Frits Philips
“It would be wonderful if the Evoluon became a meeting place where people can share and exchange their knowledge, experiences, enthusiasm and inspiration in a way that pays off on multiple fronts, socially and economically.”
Frits Philips
CEO of Philips 1961-1971
Visionary & initiator Evoluon


*Philips is a Dutch technology company headquartered in Amsterdam with primary divisions focused in the areas of electronics, healthcare and lighting. It was founded in Eindhoven in 1891, by Gerard Philips and his father Frederik. It is one of the largest electronics companies in the world and employs around 105,000 people across more than 60 countries. Philips is a leading health technology company focused on improving people’s lives and enabling better outcomes across the health continuum.

The Philips Company was founded in 1891, by Gerard Philips and his father Frederik. Frederik, a Jewish banker based in Zaltbommel, financed the purchase and setup of an empty factory building in Eindhoven, where the company started the production of carbon-filament lamps and other electro-technical products in 1892. This first factory has been adapted and is used as a museum which might be of your interest to visit

In this Evidence Based area where we’re trapped in literature and administrations, we almost would forget that treating patients with ‘hands on’ interventions like acupuncture (and massage or manipulations), the effect (or efficacy) of the treatment has to be initiated right on the spot. When the patient consults you presenting with pain, discomfort, fatigue or else, we as acupuncturists have to do this something thats gonna intervene in this person to counteract and solve the aching. Apart from explaining what is happening we have to make it happen. Explanations of ‘how acupuncture or needling works’ changed over time (as theories always do), but the human body seems to respond quite consistent . So, apart from this huge amount of theoretical models and research that has to guide healthcare workers, hands on professionals have to manage skills.  Its not uncommon that each practitioner develops its own favourite ‘tricks’ and abilities.


I believe that the latter ( which is also part of the EBM triad) is vastly underestimated. Not only based on my own experience but I observed this at the first edition of The Journey of the Needle. Whether it be a more traditional theory based on Qi concepts or a more biomedical oriented one, palpation in the end seems to be  crucial for the final needle placement. The identification of these ‘ashi points or areas’ is the first step and often precondition for the requested outcome. Instantaneous (pain) relief can be obtained when appropriate needling is performed. This direct feedback in fact forms the cornerstone of best practice.

Besides those ‘palpation’ related diagnoses, other practitioner features like intention and needling techniques come into play in the hands on practice of acupuncture[1,2,3]. The impact on outcomes isn’t yet studied thoroughly. And should deserve more attention.




Figure extracted from ‘Precision in needling’ while needling ‘MTrP. See below for link[3]
Johanna Biemans

1. Pereira JABarkham MKellett SSaxon D. The Role of Practitioner Resilience and Mindfulness in Effective Practice: A Practice-Based Feasibility Study.

2. Chae Y, Olausson H. The role of touch in acupuncture treatment.  Acupunct Med. 2017 Feb 1. pii: acupmed-2016-011178. doi: 10.1136/acupmed-2016-011178.
3. Precision needling in myofascial pain. Mike Cummings 2017 BMJ Blog

Stock Illustration of Tai Chi on Mountain

Tijdens het congres is er veel aandacht voor de rol van de behandelaar en met name de intentie tijdens het prikken. Hoe cruciaal is die?

During the congress we will highlight the role of the practioner during needling. How crucial is your intention while needling?

The Primary Healer – Intention

The first and foremost priority of a Chinese Medicine practitioner (in fact all health practitioners in my opinion) as stated in the Ling Shu is Intention. This should clear up many mis-conceptions for those who find a weakness in their diagnostic abilities. In fact, diagnosis falls at number 5. Intention to treat with a clear heart of serving reinstates your skill and ability as a practitioner.

If diagnosis is your weakness, perhaps re-evaluate your purpose as a health practitioner and realign yourself with a clear intention. This statement is not too offend but merely to express the value of being a practitioner.

Regards Sohial Farzam

Acupuncture needle usage

Acupuncture needles used for therapeutic aims is the theme during the Congres The Journey of the Needle. Plotted on a timeline the Bian stone and the Percutaneous Electrolysis are to my knowledge the extremes at this moment in time. The Bian stone (left side picture) marks the early beginnings and is depicted as the precursor of Acupuncture crafts and dates back to before 2500 BC. The one on the right is the most sophisticated and recent development in acupuncture needle use: Percutaneous Electrolyse Therapy

Bian stone [1]

Bian stones are pointed stones that were historically used in traditional Chinese medicine. They are generally considered to be a precursor to acupuncture, utilising heated pointed stones (instead of acupuncture needles) in the treatment of back and neck pain. The stones are made from a variety of materials found along the coastline of Shandong,China.

Bian stone therapy is one of humanity’s oldest medical practices. The Bian-stone technique refers to the use of stone-based equipment to perform massaging, heating and other operations. The devices are called bian stone tools. Bian-stone includes both the bian-stone technique and the tool. When used in medical institutions for therapeutic purposes, it is referred to as Bian-stone treatment.

Before acupuncture and moxibustion appeared, ancient Chinese people selected certain kinds of stone and ground it into a therapeutic tool that featured a sharp tip or an edge. Such shapes allowed the stone to be applied to the human body in different ways. The puncturing and pressing methods eventually evolved into acupuncture, while the heated-stone application evolved into moxibustion.

Percutaneous Electrolysis Therapy [2]

Or EPTE is an innovative technique that involves applying a modulated direct electrical current directly to damaged soft tissue via an acupuncture needle , inducing the tissue’s recovery. Percutaneous Electrolysis Therapy induces our body’s own healing reaction in the treated area. The whole procedure is performed under guidance of echo.

Johanna Biemans

Variations in needling:

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1. Bian stone therapy

2. Percutaneous Electrolysis Therapy