Is Acupuncture Safe?
There have been three surveys in the last six years which have shown that acupuncture is amongst the safest therapy in use in the UK today. Out of 68,000 recorded acupuncture treatments in two of the 2001 surveys, there were only 14 minor (bruising, feeling nauseous) adverse events. There have been very few reports of serious adverse events and most adverse effects are transient, lasting no more than a day or so.
According to the evidence from 12 prospective studies which surveyed more than a million acupuncture treatments, the risk of a serious adverse event with acupuncture is estimated to be 0.05 per 10 000 treatments, and 0.55 per 10 000 individual patients (White, 2004). This is very low.
Research has also shown that acupuncture is perfectly safe to have during pregnancy when given by a properly qualified acupuncturist (Park 2014).
There have been a few reported adverse effects when dry needling is performed by poorly qualified practitioners, such as physiotherapists, chiropractors and osteopaths who insert a needle deeply looking for a trigger point in a muscle and in adversely puncture a person's lung. Always seek a properly qualified acupuncturist.
Park, J, Sohn, Y, White, AR, et al. (2014). The safety of acupuncture during pregnancy: a systematic review. Acupuncture in Medicine; 32: p257-266.
White, A. (2004). A cumulative review of the range and incidence of significant adverse events associated with acupuncture. Acupuncture in Medicine; 22: p122-133.