Are There Any Risks Associated With Acupuncture Treatments?

Acupuncture has been practiced for thousands of years, originating from ancient Chinese medicine. It involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body to stimulate and balance the flow of energy, known as Qi. This traditional form of therapy has gained popularity worldwide and is often used to treat a variety of conditions, from chronic pain to anxiety and infertility. While acupuncture is generally considered safe, there are a few risks associated with this alternative therapy that individuals should be aware of.


One of the potential risks of acupuncture is the possibility of infection. If the needles used are not properly sterilized or if unclean conditions are present, bacteria or viruses can be introduced into the body. Although this is rare, it can lead to localized infections, such as cellulitis, or more serious systemic infections, such as hepatitis or HIV. To minimize the risk of infection, it is crucial to ensure that your acupuncturist follows proper hygiene and sterilization protocols.


Another risk associated with acupuncture is the potential for injury. While acupuncture is generally a safe procedure, there is a small chance of accidental puncture of organs or tissues during needle insertion. This risk is especially heightened when performed by an inexperienced or unqualified practitioner. It is important to choose a licensed and well-trained acupuncturist to minimize the risk of injury.

Bleeding and Bruising

Some individuals may experience minor bleeding or bruising at the acupuncture site. This can occur due to the use of larger gauge needles or if the skin is extremely sensitive. While these side effects are generally harmless and resolve on their own, they can be a cause for concern for those who bruise easily or have bleeding disorders. If you have a bleeding disorder or are taking blood-thinning medications, it is essential to inform your acupuncturist beforehand.

Pregnancy Concerns

Acupuncture is generally considered safe during pregnancy when performed by a qualified practitioner. However, certain acupuncture points are contraindicated during pregnancy as they can stimulate contractions or cause miscarriage. Therefore, it is crucial to inform your acupuncturist if you are pregnant or trying to conceive, as they will modify the treatment plan accordingly to ensure the safety of both mother and baby.

Emotional Reactions

Some individuals may experience emotional reactions during or after acupuncture treatments. This can range from minor mood swings to more intense emotions, such as crying or emotional release. While these reactions are generally temporary and part of the healing process, they can be unexpected and unsettling for some people. It is important to discuss any emotional concerns or reactions with your acupuncturist to ensure appropriate support and guidance.


A pneumothorax, or collapsed lung, is a rare but serious complication that can occur during acupuncture. This happens when a needle is inserted too deeply and punctures the lung, causing air to escape and compress the lung. Symptoms of a pneumothorax include sudden chest pain, difficulty breathing, and shortness of breath. If you experience any of these symptoms during or after an acupuncture treatment, seek medical assistance immediately.

Although acupuncture carries some risks, they are generally minimal and the benefits often outweigh the potential drawbacks. It is essential to choose a licensed and experienced acupuncturist who follows proper hygiene protocols to minimize the risk of infection and injury. By discussing any pre-existing health conditions or concerns with your acupuncturist, they can tailor the treatment plan to ensure your safety and well-being. Overall, acupuncture has been proven to be a safe and effective complementary therapy for a wide range of health conditions when performed by a qualified practitioner.