Is acupuncture safe?
When acupuncture treatment is performed by a qualified acupuncturist, it is very safe.
There have been three surveys in the last six years which have shown that acupuncture treatment is amongst the safest health 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, pain) reported adverse side effects.
According to the evidence from 12 prospective studies which surveyed more than a million acupuncture treatments, the risk of a serious side effects with acupuncture is estimated to be 0.05 per 10 000 treatments, and 0.55 per 10,000 individual patients. This is very low.
When acupuncture is not safe
Acupuncture treatment is not safe when it's given by a poorly qualified person who hasn't had enough training.
Is it safe to drive after having acupuncture?
Yes, it's safe for the vast majority of people to drive after having acupuncture treatment.
Some people may feel a bit disorientated and light headed after having acupuncture. For them they may need to wait 5-10 minutes before leaving the clinic.
Is acupuncture safe in pregnancy?
Yes, acupuncture is safe to have when pregnant. In actual fact it can help your baby, ensuring it grows healthy.
Research has proven that acupuncture is perfectly safe to have whilst pregnant and can reduce commonly seen problems in pregnancy.
Always make sure you have acupuncture when pregnant from a qualified acupuncturist who has trained to give acupuncture on pregnant women.
An experienced acupuncturist will never insert acupuncture needles on your abdomen on in acupuncture points that are contraindicated during pregnancy, for example Sanyinjiao (SP 6).
Carr. (2015) The safety of obstetric acupuncture: forbidden points revisited. Acupunct Med; 33(5):413-9. doi: 10.1136/acupmed-2015-010936.
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.