What are the Side Effects of Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is one of the most commonly practiced modalities of Traditional Chinese Medicine which is one of the oldest, continuous medical practices in the world.  This form of treatment is based on the belief that we live in a universe in which everything is interconnected.  Therefore, what happens to one part of the body affects the other parts of the body.  Acupuncture is safe and effective at getting things to flow and move throughout the body such as circulation, inflammation and energy.  After receiving treatment, you may experience a few side effects of acupuncture.  These side effects are minor but knowing what to expect may ease some anxiety before your first treatment.

Most Common Side Effects of Acupuncture Treatment

1:  Blood at the Insertion Site

During and after your acupuncture treatment you might experience a small drop of blood at the insertion site.  Your acupuncturist will wipe this for you with tissue or a cotton ball.

2:  Bruising at the Insertion Site

The most common side effect of acupuncture is that you may occasionally get a bruise.  This is common if you are anemic, on blood thinners or if you just tend to bruise easily.  This occurs pretty regularly and should heal quickly.

3:  Muscle Aches at the Insertion Site

The second most common side effect of acupuncture treatment is achy muscles where the needles were inserted.  This may feel like a burning sensation similar to the feeling your muscles get after a heavy work out or a deep massage.  The more you engage your muscles while the needles are in the more achiness you will experience.  For best results, lie still and relax during your treatment.  These muscle aches typically dissipate within 24 hours.  If not, give us a call and we are happy to provide some advice on how to manage the muscle aches.

4:  Dizziness or Light Headed on Getting Up

Another common side effect of acupuncture treatment is feeling dizzy or light headed when sitting up or getting off the treatment table.  This is especially true the first time you have acupuncture treatment and if you are treated face down.

5:  Emotional Release

Acupuncture treatment helps the body to move inflammation, fluid and energy.  It is not uncommon for this to affect the person’s emotional energy as well.  This release of emotional energy is generally a positive experience, but may cause some people to feel extra sensitive, tear-up or even cry.  Not because of pain, but because of stress and emotions we sometimes stifle suddenly being released and free-flowing.  This is a completely normal reaction but may surprise some people and catch you off guard.

6:  Electrical Sensation

Some people may experience an electrical, shooting sensation when the needle is inserted.  If this happens, alert your acupuncturist.  This means a nerve may have been hit and the needle should be either be removed or left alone.  If the acupuncturist continues to stimulate the need, it could potentially damage that nerve.

7:  Rare Pneumothorax

If your acupuncturist inserts a thick and/or long needle in between your ribs, your pleural sack surrounding your lungs could be punctured causing a pneumothorax.  Highly trained acupuncturists avoid this.  At Common Ground Wellness, Louisville Acupuncture Clinic, we do not use needles long enough to cause a pneumothorax.

8:  Feel Better!

While most people who search for the common side effects of acupuncture treatment are looking to see what negative effects to expect, if any, there are many beneficial side effects of the treatment that will leave you feeling relief from some of your symptoms.  Though it may take a few treatments to achieve the level of well being you are striving for, you will no doubt feel differently and better when you leave the acupuncture clinic than when you walked in.

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