Does Acupuncture Have Side Effects?
Acupuncture, when performed by experts like the Doctors of Oriental Medicine at Acupuncture Associates of America, is generally very safe and effective. Unlike pharmaceuticals, acupuncture side effects are rare and usually mild if they occur at all. There are no drug interactions to worry about and no risk of chemical dependency.
However, acupuncture is a serious medical treatment, and it must be performed correctly for the safety of the patient. Additionally, it’s important that you know what to expect from your treatment so that you will be prepared for the effect.
Potential Side Effects of Acupuncture
Acupuncture side effects are uncommon, and when they do occur, they are usually mild or of short duration. You may experience:
- Fatigue: Have you ever felt worn out after a deep tissue massage? The effect is similar after an acupuncture treatment. It’s normal to feel a little tired after a session sometimes. If you do, just take it easy and get a good night’s sleep; you’ll more than likely awaken feeling refreshed and with more energy than before the session.
- Temporary worsening of symptoms: Sometimes, things get worse before they get better. This is especially true if you are new to acupuncture. Your body’s immune system will boost, and you may feel uncomfortable for a few days as your body adjusts. The effect is similar to the way it sometimes feels when you start eating a healthier diet and abstain from junk food.
- Soreness and bruising: Some people are a bit tender at the insertion site after a session, and some minor bruising may occur as well. Bruising may be more likely if you have a bleeding condition.
- Muscle twitching: Due to the nerve manipulation that occurs during acupuncture, you may feel some muscle twitching either at the site of a needle or elsewhere in your body. This sensation should not be painful, and it should go away on its own shortly.
- Emotional release: Some people cry during or after their acupuncture treatments, not from pain but from relief, euphoria or powerful emotions. Emotional and physical well-being are connected, and for some people, emotional release is part of overall healing.
Acupuncture side effects are rare, and as you can see most are quite mild. More common, positive effects include reduced pain, increased energy and improvements to your mood!
Although the side effects of acupuncture are rare and mild when the procedure is performed correctly, it is important to keep an eye out for potential problems. For example, acupuncture performed incorrectly may cause nerve or muscle damage. If needles are not properly sterilized, they may cause infection.
This is why it’s so important to get to know your acupuncturist and ensure they are experienced, skilled and well educated. You can contact our doctors with your questions or concerns, and we will be happy to provide a consultation to discuss your needs.