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Acupuncture is extremely safe when performed by a well-trained, qualified professional with recognized standards of clean needle technique and sterile needles.

Is Acupuncture Safe?

Acupuncture needles are medical instruments, and requires acupuncturists to use only sterile, disposable needles. Manufacturers of acupuncture needles are required by the FDA to label them for single-use only.

Also, acupuncturists will swab the acupuncture sites first using an antiseptic, so there’s hardly any risk of infection. Considering the millions of people treated annually and the amount of acupuncture needles used per treatment, relatively few complications from the use of acupuncture have been reported. It’s very important to see a certified practitioner, however, because poorly sterilized needles and improper clean needle technique can transmit infectious diseases.

Safety in Comparison to Other Treatments

In regards to the comparative safety of acupuncture compared to other remedies, a consensus panel said that “negative side effects of acupuncture are extremely low and often lower than conventional therapies.

Qualified Professional Standards and Training

Accredited acupuncture schools are required by the Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (CCAOM) to present formal testing in clean needle technique before a student can manage needles at the school practice during internship.

The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) is the recognized national organization that promotes and establishes recognized standards of competence and safety in acupuncture and Oriental medication for the protection and benefit of the general public. NCCAOM modulates the national board examination for acupuncturists. Licensing in Rhode Island requires a diploma from an accredit school and passing the NCCAOM board examination.

Are There Side Effects?

Usually not. Side effects are infrequent but the most common side effects with acupuncture are minor irritation or minor bruising at the needle site. Acupuncture redirects power and boosts blood circulation and hormonal releases to trigger natural healing.

People general report feeling a profound sense of relaxation with therapy. Occasionally following a treatment someone might feel a little lightheaded or tired or might feel elated or invigorated with such sensations frequently passing in a limited while never needing more than a little rest.