Acupuncture is an ancient therapy used for treating many disorders. It involves inserting fine needles at strategic points on the body. When performed correctly, acupuncture does not give rise to any harmful side effects. Acupuncture provides natural healing to various ailments. This mode of treatment plays a very important role in improving body functions. However, many people experience a mild stinging sensation or dull pain, when the needle is being inserted into the skin. During the first few acupuncture sessions, one may feel uncomfortable. This is natural and is nothing to worry about. As the body gets used to this practice, the physical strain will diminish, and eventually one may not even feel the pain as the needle is inserted.
Often, while undergoing acupuncture treatment to cure a chronic condition, other disorders get resolved concurrently. This is a beneficial side effect commonly observed in many patients. Another common side effect reported is that original symptoms aggravate causing anxiety in some patients. However, these changes indicate that the body is responding positively to the treatment. Temporary worsening of symptoms is considered a good sign indicating that the healing process has begun.
Minor Side Effects
When the acupuncture needle is taken out, the surrounding area turns red. Bleeding or bruising may also occur after the needle is removed. In some patients, psychological effects such as fainting, sweating, nausea, and dizziness have also been reported. There have also been instances where the patient has lost consciousness. All these side effects are not a cause of concern. Minor side effects of acupuncture do not require any medical treatment, as these problems are not serious and get cured without causing any damage to the body.
Serious Side Effects
As acupuncture therapy involves piercing the skin with needles, severe infections may develop if the needles are not sterilized. When contaminated needles are inserted, bacteria enter the bloodstream and cause infection at the puncture site. These infections may give rise to serious diseases like hepatitis. To avoid all these problems, the needles must be sterilized properly.
Damage to Organs
Injury to organs is very rare in this form of treatment. When the needles are incorrectly inserted, patients get injured as the needles pierce a vital organ such as the kidneys or the lungs. If the practitioner accidentally pierces a nerve, nerve damage can be caused. Organ punctures can be life-threatening, and to avoid such incidences the needles should not be inserted deep into the skin. Communication with the practitioner is essential to sort out problems, in case one is not comfortable with the treatment.
For the treatment to be effective the following precautions should be taken:
- Needles should not be inserted into the abdominal areas of pregnant women.
- Blood vessels should be avoided, as it can lead to bleeding.
- Points on the chest should be carefully chosen as even a slight mistake can cause injury to organs.
Acupuncture can be an extremely safe form of treatment when done by experienced and well-qualified acupuncturists as they are aware of the precautions that need to be taken to avoid adverse consequences of this type of treatment.