Acupuncturist Questions Acupuncture

Can my rash be from acupuncture?

I've only had one acupuncture session, and now on my hand where I had the needles inserted, I noticed a really strange rash. Could this be a reaction from the treatment itself? If it's a allergic reaction, can I suggest getting different needles inserted?

15 Answers

I have not heard that can happen.
Speak to and show the person who treated you so they can assess you.
The needles I use are stainless steel, and it's not typical for someone to have an allergic reaction to them. That said, if you are allergic to nickel, it's possible that you may have reacted to the nickel in the stainless. Other needles are an option, but I don't currently have those needles in stock.
It's likely not a reaction from the treatment but it may be a reaction to the needle. Some needles have a silicon coating which some people are allergic too. Definitely ask your acupuncturist to use another brand of needle.

It is also not uncommon to have a little redness around the area where the needle was inserted. This redness usually passes within a few hours to a day. Sometimes, the skin can pucker under the needle and you'll have a little bump after it's removed. Again, this usually resolves on it's own after some time.
Good afternoon,

1. It's a normal reaction from acupuncture therapy, but should not last more than 24 hours from the treatment.
2. You can request the practitioner to change the needle into a silver needle.
3. 99% of needles are disposable and made of steel.

Does your rash itch or does it just have slight redness? If you have an itch, you may be allergic to the needle used. Ask the acupuncturist to perhaps use silicon coated needles (swirling needles).
However, if there is just slight redness on the location where the needles were inserted, this is a normal response. Actually, a preferred response. That is showing the acupuncturist that your body is reacting to the treatment!
If there are any pus, weird rash shapes, or any dark discoloration, contact your doctor immediately or go to the emergency room.
Do you have rash with itching on your hand? If yes, then could be allergic reaction. If not, then I suggest you discuss this with your acupuncturist regarding the rash on the hand.
It is not uncommon to notice a little bit of redness around the site where the needles were. There are some cases where your skin is just more sensitive to the needles, and there is always a possibility you could be allergic. If you are concerned, speak with your practitioner at the follow up visit. You can also snap a picture of the site so the practitioner can see what you are experiencing. Some practitioners use different varieties of needles, so they may be able to use other brands if they have them.
It could be an allergic reaction. It could be something unrelated to the acupuncture but just coincidental, it could be and irritation that occurred after the treatment or it could be a result of the treatment itself. (Sometimes, our treatment is "releasing heat" and that can result in a rash, but we want it to rash out because we want your body to release the pathogen.)

I cannot know without knowing your case or what the rash looks like, so go back to the practitioner and show them. A topical, over-the -counter rash ointment might be all you need, but if it gets worse, check for infection.

You can certainly ask the practitioner to use a different brand of needle, because some of them have silicon coatings to make the insertion smoother and that might be an irritant to you.

So, go back to the acupuncturist and show them so they can assess - I cannot advise without seeing it myself.
The needles that are normally used are surgical stainless steel, which means an allergic reaction would be almost impossible. However, some practitioners could use an atypical needle. Or, the rash could be a superficial bruise. There are too many variables to assume the origin of the rash. Please send a photo so that I can assist in narrowing down the problem.
Most needles are stainless steel, so unless you're allergic to it, you shouldn't be having a reaction to the needles. But make your practitioner aware and they may have needles of some other material if you have the same reaction again.
This is tough to say exactly what it's from, but it either could be a slight reaction to just having a needle inserted - which should go away in a day - or a reaction to a cheap needle. In the latter case, it would be a good idea to try another type of needle.
If you are allergic to nickel than it might be an allergic reaction form the acupuncture needles. Consult your medical doctor for further evaluation.
Yes, it could be a reaction to the treatment itself. A person can, technically, be allergic to anything. If there was something on your skin, something on the needle or you're allergic to the stainless steel most needles are made of, then you could easily experience a reaction.

It's difficult to provide a course of action for you for a couple of reasons:

1. I don't know what you were being treated for, what points were used or what brand needle your provider was utilizing.

2. If it was an allergic reaction, it may escalate to a more serious condition called anaphylaxis with repeated exposure to the allergen. In other words: you want to pin down the cause of the reaction before you try another round of acupuncture.

To be 100% on the safe side, I'd suggest you find an allergist and have some allergy testing done. If you can, you're going to want to rule in/out steel or stainless steel - and I have no idea if this is even in the scope of most allergy testing. You also may want to try to rule in/rule out silicone (for reasons explained below).

Another important thing to note here is: Seirin brand needles, which many acupuncturists use, contain a small drop of medical grade silicone at the tip. If your provider is using Seirin needles, it's very possible that your reaction was to the silicone rather than the needle itself. If this is the case, then switching to another brand of needle should resolve the issue.

Whatever you decide, make sure you talk to your acupuncture provider about what happened.
Often mild redness around the needles is a sign that the qi is doing its job of clearing out what is called a "pathogenic factor". However, if the rash is more than a temporary redness at the needle sites, it's possible that you had a reaction to the metal and you can certainly request different needles to test this.