Less than 1% of people experience any negative side effect, such as dizziness or fainting, but in those cases it is most often due to an extremely emotional nature, inadequate sleep, or inadequate food prior to treatment.
Prior to treatment you should have an acupuncture consultation to find out if acupuncture is right for you, and your condition. The acupuncturist can inform how to properly prepare yourself before treatment to optimize your results.
Positive side effects are quite common and include improved sleep, improved digestion, regulated menstrual cycles, decrease in PMS symptoms, and many others.
Good luck in your healing journey
Dr. Kim Peirano, DACM LAc
Clinically, I cannot say there are any undesirable side effects of utilizing acupuncture for depression. I personally have treated many people with depression and emotional challenges that have only reaped the reward of feeling more energy, more inspiration, and an overall better emotional and physical feeling. I highly suggest you consider it for your health and wellness.
Leanne Mitchell, Dipl. L.Ac, MAOM, LMT, ES
Acupuncture has no side or after effects when performed by a licensed practitioner.
Be well, be confident, we can help.
You may experience some light-headedness, dizziness or tiredness just after the needles are removed. Take your time moving/getting up after treatment. This usually goes away fairly quickly, and having a light snack just prior to or just after your appointment will help.
Sometimes the needle site will itch for a few hours after treatment. It happens because of a histamine response initiated by your immune system due to the needle.
Occasionally a patient will experience syncope while the needles are in. This is fainting or loss of consciousness due to the needles. It happens more often in people that have a strong fear of needles, but anyone can experience the issue at any time - and it's not just acupuncture needles that cause it hypodermics and blood draws can also result in fainting. Your acupuncturist shouldn't insert any needles until you're laying down on a treatment table and should stay in the room for a few minutes after insertion to make sure everything is ok.
Sometimes the needle may nick a capillary bed or small vein. If this happens, there may be some local swelling or bruising. This typically resolves in a couple of days.
Very rarely the needle may get a little too close to a nerve causing sharp pain. It's important for acupuncturists to solicit feedback as needles causing sharp pain need to be removed or repositioned. If you are experiencing sharp pain after the needle has been in for a few seconds, speak up and make sure your provider moves the needle.
Needling over the chest or abdomen carries a risk of organ puncture. The lungs are most susceptible.
Technically, infection is a risk. However, almost all US acupuncturists utilize single-use factory sterilized needles. These needles are used once on one patient and then discarded in an appropriate container.
For the best, and safest results, make sure you're seeing a state licensed, board certified acupuncturist. These are people who attended 3-4 years of school for Chinese medicine and acupuncture, been certified in Clean Needle Technique and passed a set of nationally recognized board exams. If you aren't in CA, go to NCCAOM.org and use their "Find a Practitioner" lookup to get some providers in your area.