'Is acupuncture safe' is a very common question among those who have never experienced an acupuncture treatment.
The answer relies on the skill of the practitioner. If he or she is unsure of what they are doing, it is certainly possible to inflict injury with an acupuncture needle. However, when practiced by a licensed, trained acupuncturist, acupuncture is extremely safe and there is no danger whatsoever.
The importance of seeking an appropriately trained practitioner cannot be overstated.
Are there any contraindications for acupuncture?
There are very few situations where acupuncture is not advised. These are the most common:
- If the patient has a hemophilic condition
- If the patient is pregnant - certain acupuncture points and needle manipulations should not be used during pregnancy
- If the patient has a severe psychotic condition or is under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Are the needles clean?
Before undergoing any acupuncture treatment, ask the practitioner about their sterilization procedures. All registered acupuncturists are required by law to sterilize needles as part of a safe acupuncture practice. It is in their own interest, as much as in the patient's, to use extreme caution. For this reason, some practitioners use disposable needles which can be discarded following the treatment of each patient. In cases where disposable needles are not used, the practitioner will have a sterilizer (called an autoclave) in the clinic, or may use hospital sterilization services.