Acupuncture is generally considered a very safe treatment.
All health procedures carry some risk, and some risks may depend on an individual patient’s circumstances (eg age, gender, illness or other health factors).
Before you start your acupuncture treatment, we will explain the risks to you and allow you to make an informed decision to proceed. We will also check in with you throughout your course of treatment that you are feeling comfortable and provide answers or responses to any questions or concerns you may have.
Several very large-scale studies involving many tens of thousands of professional acupuncture treatments have found that acupuncture is generally well tolerated and, if side effects happen, they tend to be relatively minor – for example tiredness, bruising or dizziness. (1-3)
It is important to receive acupuncture from well-trained health professionals who understand the risks and how to minimise them. Working near vulnerable areas of the body requires special techniques and precautions, so please ensure that your therapist is adequately qualified.
Registered Chinese Medicine Practitioners (listed on the AHPRA website) have met the appropriate education standards.
Acupuncture is generally considered safe in pregnancy.
Qualified practitioners understand how to modify acupuncture treatment for pregnancy and to avoid certain areas of the body or specific acu-points due to their therapeutic actions.
A recent review concluded that if adverse effects do occur during acupuncture in pregnancy, they seem to be minor and transient (of the type noted above) and occurance is similar across all trimesters of pregnancy. (4)
(1) White A, Hayhoe S, Hart A, Ernst E. Adverse events following acupuncture: prospective survey of 32,000 consultations with doctors and physiotherapists. BMJ. 2001;323:485–6.
(2) Macpherson H, Thomas K, Walters S, Fitter M. The York acupuncture safety study: prospective survey of 34,000 treatments by traditional acupuncturists. BMJ. 2001;323:486–7.
(3) Witt CM, Pach D, Brinkhaus B, Wruck K, Tag B, Mank S, Willich SN. Safety of acupuncture: results of a prospective observational study with 229,230 patients and introduction of a medical information and consent form. Forsch Komplementmed. 2009;16:91–7.
(4) Clarkson C, O’Mahony D, Jones D. Adverse event reporting in studies of penetrating acupuncture during pregnancy: a systematic review. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2015 May;94(5):453-64.