Acupuncture Side Effects

side effectsAcupuncture does have some side effects. However, compared to other treatments, the side effects of acupuncture are not dangerous, but they do affect your general state of mind to some extent. So it is best to be informed about possible side effects before starting any acupuncture treatment. There are some side effects that are more likely to be sensed while undergoing treatment.

Common acupuncture side effects

One of the main reasons people seek acupuncture treatments is insomnia. Acupuncture is well known for being effective at alleviating insomnia, even for elderly people. However, even though you don’t necessarily seek treatment for insomnia, you may experience some extra hours of sleep after your sessions and that is because acupuncture has the power to relax the mind and the body to a very high degree by reducing stress levels.

Improved mental clarity

After a relaxing acupuncture session, it is very possible to find yourself in a very active state of mind. The explanation stands in the fact that acupuncture shows you how to see the world from a different perspective. When your mind is relaxed you will start to look at things differently and new ideas will pop into your head. Moreover, if you notice that the decisions in your life are not so complicated anymore, that is also a side effect of your acupuncture sessions, and you have most likely become more confident. So don’t panic if suddenly you think you found the meaning of life, acupuncture sometimes gives you extra insight.

Improved digestion

Constipation is a condition very often treated with acupuncture, and if it’s not the main cause for seeking treatment, the practitioners will still ask a lot of questions about your eating habits. So if you start noticing that the visits to the bathroom are more frequent than usual, it may be because of the acupuncture sessions as this practice is strongly related to food and nature.

Rare acupuncture side effects

There are some additional acupuncture side effects which are indeed rare, but there is still a chance you could experience them.

Worsening of symptoms

acupuncture effectsWhile normally you should experience an improvement in your symptoms, there is a small chance of actually feeling worse than before you started your acupuncture treatment. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean that the healing process is failing. When your body is adapting to the new conditions subsequent to the acupuncture treatment, things can get a little bit out of control so that you become hypersensitive to stimuli that had previously seemed normal. This is a temporary situation so you just need to be patient until things get back on the right track.


Sometimes acupuncture treatments can squeeze the last bit of energy out of you, and this means that your body needs a rest. It is not a sign of desperation, however, some relaxing measures may need to be taken into consideration. Try going to sleep earlier and take a soothing bath before bedtime.

Physical pain

Until you get used to the needles, it is possible to experience some physical pain in the areas that were used for the acupuncture treatment. This should be explained to you before treatment begins. While the pain should fade away in less than 24 hours, it is possible to take a little longer for those who are more sensitive to needle pinches.


Same as with physical pain, some people may be more prone to bruising until they get used to the needles. A possible cause for this is an accumulation of blood vessels in the spots where the needles are introduced. Unlike with pain, bruises tend to take more time to fade away, however, there is no need to panic.

Muscle twitches

This side effect is prone to happen around the area where the needle was placed. Muscle twitching is different from muscle spasms, however, if you ever experience this kind of side effect just let your acupuncturist know so adjustments can be made, either by removing the needle or going easier in that area.

Feeling faint

If you go into your acupuncture session on an empty stomach or you get up too suddenly from the table after your treatment, it is possible to experience lightheadedness which can lead to fainting. Although this happens very seldom there’s still a slight chance as the treatment can affect you both physically and emotionally. When your acupuncture session has ended, take your time getting up from the bed and gathering your stuff. If you start to feel dizzy, sit down on a chair and do some breathing exercises, and wait until you feel better before continuing.


Acupuncture is a totally different treatment system, and until you get used to it you may experience some crying sessions while you are on the table or even after your session. Although it may seem weird, especially if you are a person who tends to keep your feelings locked inside, it is normal to feel a bit emotional. Often feeling increasingly emotions means that the treatment is working, and you are becoming aware of the changes in your body.


All in all, acupuncture side effects are not very serious in comparison to other treatments. The most common acupuncture side effects are related to positive things like a clear mind, the ability to relax and sleep well, or improved digestion. On the other hand, it is also possible to experience some negative side effects like pain, bruises, fainting, or crying. Even though these side effects have a very low chance of occurring, it is better to be aware of the possibility instead of being caught unprepared.

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