When baseball fans saw a closeup of Joc Pederson’s neck at the MLB All-Star Home Run Derby last week, there was a collective confusion as he graciously gave Vlad Guerrero, Jr. a hug after losing to him in the longest hitting contest to date. Does he have scales? Is he a cyborg? A docking station to power up? Social media theorists went wild.
The answer to this mystery is… acupuncture. While acupuncture is typically done with thin filiform needles and retained for 20-30 minutes, there is another technique called intradermal needles or tacks. They are extremely small needles that only penetrate the outermost surface of the skin and are protected by a plastic coating and a bandage around it. They are so thin you don’t feel a thing when they are placed. These can be used to stimulate points on the ear or the body just like regular acupuncture and are used by many athletes like a walking acupuncture treatment. They work the same way as acupuncture for a variety of conditions including anxiety, nausea, pain or likely on the case of Joc Pederson, a stiff neck.
Since this is an acupuncture procedure, its best to have a licensed acupuncturist place them. While some intradermals can stay on for several days, with high-intensity exercise like Joc Peterson’s 61 home runs in his historic matchup at the derby, they should be removed sooner for good hygiene. They typically are peeled off at home.
Thanks to Joc Pederson for being brave enough to wear his medical treatment for the public to see. Just like beach volleyball’s Kerri Walsh Jennings showed off her Kinesio Tape and Michael Phelps flaunted his cupping marks, Joc Pederson may be the face… or neck, of intradermal acupuncture.
Rebecca Berkson, L.Ac., Dipl.OM
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