Acupuncture is a group of techniques involving stimulation of anatomical places on or in the skin by a number of techniques. There are a number of techniques to diagnosis and treatment in American acupuncture that combine medical traditions from China, Japan, Korea, and other countries. One of the most thoroughly studied mechanism of stimulation of acupuncture points uses penetration of the skin by thin, solid, metallic needles, which are manipulated by hand or by electrical stimulation.

What are the health benefits and risks of acupuncture?

All therapies have benefits and risks.

The possible benefits of acupuncture are:

  • When performed correctly it is safe
  • There are very few side effects
  • It is a very effective combination treatment
  • It is effective in controlling some types of pain
  • It may be considered for patients who do not respond to pain medications
  • It is a useful alternative for patients who do not want to take pain medications.

The possible risks of acupuncture are:

  • It is dangerous if the patient has a bleeding disorder
  • It the dangerous if the patient is taking blood thinners
  • There may be bleeding, bruising and soreness at the insertion sites
  • The needle may break and damage an internal organ (very rare)
  • Unsterilized needles may infect the patient
  • When inserted deeply into the chest or upper back there is a risk of collapsed lung (very rare).



Using acupuncture to reduce pain and nausea after surgery is coming to be more common. Using acupuncture prior to and in the course of surgery dramatically minimizes the amount of pain and the amount of strong painkillers needed by individuals after the surgery is over, a study showed. Acupuncture is also beginning to make inroads into veterinary medicine.


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