Are acupuncture needles sterile and safe?
Are there risks or side effects to acupuncture?
Usually not. Acupuncture is a very safe method of encouraging the body to promote natural healing and improve function.
Done properly, acupuncture rarely causes serious side effects. Manypeople feel a brief stinging sensation, like a pinprick, duringinsertion of the needles. Others experience a dull ache around theneedle after it goes in.
Other problems documented by researchers resulted from mistakes madeby the acupuncturists. For example, some have failed to refer theirpatients for other kinds of treatment that might be more effective fortheir illness. Others have spread serious infections by using needlesthat weren’t sterile. A handful have injured patients by pushing aneedle into a vital organ such as a lung. But overall, as the NationalInstitutes of Health recently concluded, acupuncturists have anextremely good safety record.
A side effect that I have seen in my own practice is the originalsymptoms worsening for a few days after an acupuncture treatment. Sometimes other general changes in appetite, sleep, bowel or urinationpatterns, or emotional state may be triggered. These should not causeconcern, as they are simply indications that the acupuncture isstarting to work. My teacher explained it to me like this: Acupunctureis smoothing out blocked Qi (energy) that is stuck in areas of yourbody. When a garden hose gets a kink in it, the water stops flowing.When you straighten the hose, the built up pressure makes the waterburst out in the beginning. This is what can happen when you first haveacupuncture.
It is also common with the first one or twotreatments to have a sensation of deep relaxation or even milddisorientation immediately following the treatment. These effectsshould wear off within 24-48 hours.
Please discuss what you have been experiencing with youracupuncturist. Your comfort is a priority. The more you communicatewith the practitioner, the more he or she will be able to help you.
A few people have reported more serious reactions, such asdizziness, sweatiness, or nausea, according to a November 1999 issue ofthe Archives of Family Medicine. There have even been somecases reported where patients lost consciousness. However, theseproblems usually clear up on their own within a few minutes, withoutlasting harm to the patient.
While Acupuncture is an extremely safe form of physical medicine, here are some rarely seen contraindications and risks.
Precautions & Contraindications:
- It is contraindicated to needle the abdomen and lumbosacral areas of pregnant women
- Avoid blood vessels to prevent bleeding
- Points on the chest and back should be carefully needled to avoid injury to organs
Risks: (Some of the risks mentioned below are EXTREMELY RARE!)
- Muscle Spasms
- Nerve Damage
- Punctured Lung
- Accidental Injury to organs (Brain, Spinal Cord, Heart, Liver, Spleen, Kidney)
Acupuncture needles are very safe.
In Europe, most acupuncturists will only use disposable needles. These are always packed individually in sterile sealed little packets. Acupuncturists using them will open the packets in front of the patient , so you can see that clean fresh sterile needles are being used. These needles are only used once and are then disposed of. If your acupuncturist doesn’t open the packets in front of you, then simply ask them to. Any professional registered acupuncturist will be happy to do this for you. Mw – at www.chi-medic.com and www.leixlipacupuncture.com .
Yes. The FDA required acupuncturists to follow strict sterilization guidelines. Pre-sterilized acupuncture needles are manufactured, packaged, and shipped in sterilized containers to ensure compliance with the law. Acupuncture needles are one time use and a new package of needles is used for each patient.