The risks of acupuncture are low if you have a competent, certified acupuncture practitioner. Possible side effects and complications include:

  • Soreness. After acupuncture, you might have soreness, minor bleeding or bruising at the needle sites
  • Organ injury. If the needles are pushed in too deeply, they could puncture an internal organ — particularly the lungs. This is an extremely rare complication in the hands of an experienced practitioner.
  • Infections. Licensed acupuncturists are required to use sterile, disposable needles. A reused needle could expose you to diseases such as hepatitis.

Not everyone is a good candidate for acupuncture or for particular types of acupuncture. Conditions that may increase your risks of complications include:

  • Bleeding disorders. Your chances of bleeding or bruising from the needles increase if you have a bleeding disorder or if you're taking blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin).
  • Having a pacemaker. Some types of acupuncture involve applying mild electrical pulses to the needles, which can interfere with a pacemaker's operation.
  • Being pregnant. Some types of acupuncture
Jan. 25, 2012