RisksBy Mayo Clinic staff
The risks of acupuncture are low if you have a competent, certified acupuncture practitioner. Possible side effects and complications include:
- Soreness. After acupuncture, you might have soreness, minor bleeding or bruising at the needle sites
- Organ injury. If the needles are pushed in too deeply, they could puncture an internal organ — particularly the lungs. This is an extremely rare complication in the hands of an experienced practitioner.
- Infections. Licensed acupuncturists are required to use sterile, disposable needles. A reused needle could expose you to diseases such as hepatitis.
Not everyone is a good candidate for acupuncture or for particular types of acupuncture. Conditions that may increase your risks of complications include:
- Bleeding disorders. Your chances of bleeding or bruising from the needles increase if you have a bleeding disorder or if you're taking blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin).
- Having a pacemaker. Some types of acupuncture involve applying mild electrical pulses to the needles, which can interfere with a pacemaker's operation.
- Being pregnant. Some types of acupuncture are thought to stimulate labor, which could result in a premature delivery.
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