Common side effects of acupuncture include syncope or near-syncope in approximately 1 percent of patients, bruising around the needle site in less than 1 percent of needle sticks, and persistent soreness from needling that outlasts the treatment by hours to days. Contact dermatitis has been reported and attributed to the nickel content in most stainless steel needles.35 Acupuncture should be avoided during pregnancy or used with caution due to the apparent effect of uterine muscle contraction and cervical dilation that has been produced by stimulating certain points.36'37 Other risks of acupuncture can be divided into organ or tissue damage and infections. The lung is the organ most likely to be injured during acupuncture. Several reports of unilateral and bilateral pneumothorax have emerged.35,38,39,40 Cases of spinal cord and peripheral nerve injuries have been associated with acupuncture due to migration of a broken needle fragment or a purposefully retained needle.41,42,43,44 Boxall45 reported 29 cases of serologically proven hepatitis B traced to an acupuncture clinic in Birmingham, UK. Four cases of hepatitis B were reported and traced to acupuncture treatment received at a chiropractic clinic in Florida in 1980.46 In both clinics poor needle management was used: reusable needles, use of hollow syringe-type needles, and unsterilized needles.
The documentation of serious complications of acupuncture is an argument in favor of state regulation. This would help insure that practitioners meet certain standards of knowledge and practice that would limit public harm.
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Have You Always Been Curious About Acupuncture, But Were Never Quite Sure Where To Stick The Needles? If you associate acupuncture with needles, pain and weird alternative medicine then you are horribly misinformed about the benefits of the world's oldest form of medicinal treatment.