Acupuncture involves the insertion of very thin needles through your skin at strategic points on your body. A key component of traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture is most commonly used to treat pain. Increasingly, it is being used for overall wellness, including stress management.
Traditional Chinese medicine explains acupuncture as a technique for balancing the flow of energy or life force — known as chi or qi (chee) — believed to flow through pathways (meridians) in your body. By inserting needles into specific points along these meridians, acupuncture practitioners believe that your energy flow will re-balance.
The risks of acupuncture are low if you have a competent, certified acupuncture practitioner using sterile needles. Common side effects include soreness and minor bleeding or bruising where the needles were inserted. Single-use, disposable needles are now the practice standard, so the risk of infection is minimal. Not everyone is a good candidate for acupuncture. You may be at risk of complications if you:
• Have a bleeding disorder. Your chances of bleeding or bruising from the needles
increase if you have a bleeding disorder or if you're taking blood thinners.
• Have a pacemaker. Acupuncture that involves applying mild electrical pulses to the needles can interfere with a pacemaker's operation.
• Are pregnant. Some types of acupuncture are thought to stimulate labor, which could result in a premature delivery.
Common conditions that can be treated with Acupuncture: