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Is Acupuncture Safe? Are There Side Effects? 

Acupuncture is very safe when practiced by a trained and licensed acupuncturist. Always look for the title “L.Ac.” or “Licensed Acupuncturist” after your practitioner’s name to ensure you are getting the best possible treatment. In order to obtain the title of licensed acupuncturist, your practitioner has completed years of graduate level education, including extensive internship training from a nationally accredited program, and has passed stringent national board exams administered by the National Certification Commision for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. 

The most common reported effects of acupuncture include feeling relaxed, sleepy, and calm. This is a result of acupuncture’s relaxing and restorative effects on the nervous system. 

The most common unwanted side effect of acupuncture treatment is occasional small, painless bruises at needle insertion sites. Your acupuncturist is trained in specific point location and needling techniques to prevent this from happening, but they may infrequently occur. These painless bruises are typically dime sized or smaller and fade within a week or less. Inform your acupuncturist if you take any blood thinning medications or if you have any medical conditions that lead to easy bruising or bleeding so extra precautions can be taken. 

The nervous system relaxation that acupuncture produces can lead to relaxation of the smooth muscles that line blood vessels, which may cause blood pressure to go down. In some patients who have naturally low blood pressure, or who have certain medical conditions, this can cause feelings of lightheadedness. At Mind + Body Acupuncture, we will take your blood pressure at your first visit to establish a baseline, and ask you if you have any history of low blood pressure, fainting, or certain medical conditions and medications that can cause low blood pressure. It is important to inform your acupuncturist about your medical history, including surgery, all medical diagnoses and current medications so that your treatment can be appropriately tailored to your needs. 

If you have further questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out. Our team is happy to answer your questions to help you decide if acupuncture is right for you!


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