Most acupuncturists will tell you that the only acupuncture side effects are good ones. They will stress the benefits of the practice. It seems that many of the adverse side effects reported have come from a treatment by an inexperienced practitioner.
Despite reports of infections from non-sterilized needles, broken or “forgotten’ needles and internal organs being pierced, overall, acupuncturists have a very good safety record.
Acupuncture Side Effects
During the insertion of the needles, some people report feeling a sting, like a pinprick, while others say they feel a dull ache around the needle site.
Many people report that their original symptoms increase after a few days or that new symptoms surface; this seems to be normal and is simply an indication that the acupuncture is beginning to work.
Another common acupuncture effect is the feeling of disorientation or deep relaxation after the first few treatments. Apparently these wear off in a day or two. A few reports of more serious reactions of localized skin reaction, dizziness, nausea, sweating or losing consciousness, have been reported.
Again, it appears these have only lasted for a short time and have eased without any intervention. Reports of hepatitis B infection from using needles improperly sterilized are rare.
While acupuncture seems to be a safe medical procedure, there are some risks, though these are extremely rare.
These include fainting, bruising, bleeding, muscle spasm, punctured lung, nerve damage and accidental injury to internal organs. It has to be noted though, that generally, positive side effects of acupuncture are over twice as common as negative ones.
Positive Acupuncture Side Effects
The positive acupuncture side effects that are most commonly reported include calmness, a pleasant fatigue, mental alertness, euphoria and improved sleep.
Some patients are so relaxed that a precaution against driving a vehicle for 30 to 60 minutes is advised, particularly after the initial acupuncture treatment.
To reduce the risk of experiencing adverse acupuncture side effects, choose an experienced, trained practitioner. If possible, talk to some patients of the practitioner you choose and ask about side effects. This will give you a good idea of the risks.
The best method is using single-use needles, but if the acupuncturist does not use this practice, make sure that adequate sterilization of needles is in place.
Research shows that adverse acupuncture side effects can be mostly attributed to poor hygiene and lack of training, but over-confidence of the practitioner also plays a part.
As long as sterile or disposable needles are used, acupuncture side effect “risk of infection” is minimized. Attending a well-trained and experienced acupuncturist will ensure that your experience is positive and negative acupuncture side effects are minimum.