Acupuncture is a safe and effective form of treatment when performed by a certified and competent professional. The most common side effects are minor pain and bleeding or bruising at the needle insertion site. Single-use, disposable needles are now standard practice, so the risk of infection is minimal. The benefits of acupuncture include the relief of long-term (chronic) pain and other health conditions.
Many people use acupuncture to relieve pain throughout the body, including for migraines, back pain, and arthritis. Studies have also shown that acupuncture can be an effective treatment option for a variety of conditions, such as immune system problems, infertility, and the effects of menopause. Acupuncture is done with hair-thick needles. Most people report feeling minimal pain when the needle is inserted. The needle is inserted at a point that produces a feeling of pressure or pain.
The needles may become hot during treatment or a mild electrical current may be applied to them. Some people say acupuncture gives them energy. Incorrect needle placement can cause pain during treatment. Needles must be sterilized to avoid infection. That's why it's important to seek treatment from a qualified acupuncture professional.
The FDA regulates acupuncture needles like other medical devices, in accordance with good manufacturing practices and single-use sterility standards. To reduce the risk of side effects, acupuncture should always be performed by an accredited and properly trained health professional, using clean, disposable needles. The best way to minimize risk is to ensure that all acupuncturists are well trained, not only in the technique of acupuncture, but also in recognizing serious adverse events and initiating lifesaving measures. However, even rare adverse effects are important if they result in death, and responsible therapists must be aware of the risks.