Does Acupuncture Have Any Side Effects?
Acupuncture treatment generally has minimal side effects. These minimal side effects include minor bruising, itching or redness where the needles was inserted. All of the minor side effects will go after a few days.
Serious side effects of acupuncture
Serious side effects are more likely to occur with dry-needling type. Dry needling doesn't come from traditional Chinese medicine. This type of therapy is not acupuncture and is performed by other healthcare practitioners, such as physiotherapists, chiropractors, GPs, nurses and osteopaths. They are poorly trained as there is no regulation of acupuncture. People find this type of therapy isn't as effective as traditional acupuncture.
They insert a needle deeply into a muscle looking for a trigger point to release muscle tension and can inadvertently puncture a person's lung or internal organ. The person will require hospital treatment. This is a serious adverse effect however is less likely from members of the British Acupuncture Council.
Is it normal to have bruising after acupuncture?
Yes, it is normal to have bruising post acupuncture.
Following acupuncture, there sometimes maybe a few small bruises of the skin. This is one of the minor side effects.
Having bruising after treatment doesn't mean there is anything wrong with you, it's just a local problem of the skin hitting a blood vessel causing the bruising.
In cases where there is bruising to the skin, it will fade away after a few days and won't be a problem.
How to minimise acupuncture side effects
There are several things you can do to minimise possible side effects from acupuncture, including:
- Make sure your circulation is good by wearing enough warm clothes prior to your session
- Advice the acupuncturist if you are allergic to silicone, which is sometimes used to coat acupuncture needles
- If you find the treatment cold, ask your acupuncturist to warm the room up more
- Always seek a properly qualified acupuncturist who performs traditional acupuncture
Dr (TCM) Attilio D'Alberto graduated from Beijing University in China and has over 14 years of practicing acupuncture in London.