Acupuncture side effects

Side effects are possible with any medical treatment. Acupuncture is certainly no exception although there are relatively few reported acupuncture side effects to date. Most of the reported side effects of this treatment method are completely harmless. There are cases of life-threatening side effects noted, although these are very rare. In acupuncture, there are places in the body where needles should never be inserted. The areas around the lungs that are located directly under the rig cage as well as the area from the top of the shoulder to the waist should never be treated with acupuncture.

When done correctly and by a trained and licensed practitioner, acupuncture is a very safe treatment method for many injuries and ailments. It is possible however for the patient to experience adverse side effects. One very rare side effect of acupuncture is needle shock. When a patient suddenly feels faint while undergoing acupuncture therapy, they are said to be in needle shock. Another rare side effect is a punctured lung which is why it is important to never insert needles into the areas around the lungs. Minor side effects that have been reported include redness and tenderness around the needle injection sites, nausea, pain and slight bleeding. Bruising is a more commonly reported acupuncture side effect and typically happens during the practice of cupping.

In order to keep side effects to a minimum as well as to increase the success rate of acupuncture therapy, it should only be done by a highly trained and skilled professional. Acupuncturists should always use sterile needles and when performed correctly, most patients experience no side effects at all but feel completely relaxed and revitalized. You should note that there may be a continued sense of warmth or tingling in the injection area even after the needles are removed. This effect typically only lasts for a few minutes after the therapy.

Bruising and bleeding are typically caused by broken blood capillaries and are similar to the bruising and bleeding that is present whenever an injection is given or when blood is taken. Putting slight pressure on the site for just a few seconds should stop the bleeding. One very possible side effect is the risk of a drop in blood pressure suddenly which may make you feel very tired. Fainting is very rare and is typically not life-threatening. If you are allergic to stainless steel, you should not undergo acupuncture therapy as the needles used are made from stainless steel. Some patients who were not aware of their allergies have had reactions to the needles although this too is very rare. Be certain that you visit a trusted and licensed acupuncturist to ensure that clean and sterile needles are used. When needles are not completely sterilized before acupuncture, it increases the risk of infection. In addition, if the needles are not inserted correctly and efficiently, they can puncture vital organs so using only a very well trained, highly experienced and licensed acupuncture specialist is crucial.

Certain herbs that are often used in conjunction with acupuncture therapy may cause insomnia and/or allergic reactions in some patients. Many herbs also contain properties that may burn the skin when held too close. Be certain that you discuss the use of any herbs with your acupuncturist prior to undergoing therapy. Overall, the risk of side effects when undergoing acupuncture therapy are very minimal and many patients feel that the results of the therapy are well worth any risks that are taken. If you are concerned about specific risks, be certain to speak with your doctor as well as your acupuncturist prior to beginning therapy.

Last updated on Dec 6th, 2010 and filed under Alternative Medicine. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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