How Dangerous is the Practice of Acupuncture?

By: arider
Acupuncture today is a widely used 2000 year old medical procedure stimulating a variety of body pressure points. This technique commonly involves the penetration of a persons skin with thin metallic needles, manipulated by the hands and/ or through electrical stimulation.

What is seen by many people to work wonders outside the realms of modern heavily tested medicine, is also seen by a similar number as having limited anecdotal evidence, in terms of actual effectiveness.

Whilst many people take this often termed 'alternative' medical method so as to relieve stress and reduce any pains, among other uses, rarely do these patients consider potential inherent dangers.

Generally problems don't arise from the application of acupuncture. Since the body's outer defense, the skin, is penetrated infection is the largest concern. Instances have purportedly arisen where re-used needles have spread ailments like hepatitis. Studies in the past on acupuncture infections have apparently shown 35 percent of all needles used to be 're-used'. In this case promoting the use of disposable needles is best, whenever engaging in invasive acupuncture.

Haematomas are apparently possible when major blood circulatory structures are punctured. Persons with bleeding disorders or on a course of steroids should not participate in acupuncture due to potential increased fragility of their tissues. Similarly, nerve injury may be possible, brain damage possible with deep skin penetration around the base of the skull.

Advice found on the internet states that people who have brittle bones, osteoporosis or a history of injuries to the spine should stay clear of acupuncture since it involves strong applications of localized physical pressure on the patients body. Indeed recommendations exist for keeping people with poor leg blood circulation away from leg acupuncture due to a possible worsening of their circulation, post-acupuncture. Carpal tunnel syndrome (pinching of nerves leading to prolonged numbness and sharp jolts of pain) is also said to potentially get aggravated through the use of acupuncture.

Other acupuncture problems encountered have been isolated cases of lung or bladder punctures through too deep insertion of the acupuncture needles.

Needles can on rare occasions break, or allergic reactions can take place if the needles are constructed from more exotic materials than the usual steel.

The use of acupuncture on pregnant women has been said to increase particular hormones responsible for bringing the onset of labor. The fetus has been claimed to be harmed by the actions of acupuncturists during early pregnancy.

Stories abound of all kinds of yet more unusual dangerous happenings. Some acupuncture practitioners have claimed that patients have been admitted to mental hospitals after inappropriate acupuncture sessions, such is their perceived power inherent in this Chinese art.

The World Health Organization has apparently claimed that if doctors recognized acupuncture as a so called 'proper' medical procedure unscrupulous practitioners would be less likely to take up acupuncture due to it being more regulated.

Another point of view has surfaced stating that acupuncture works with religious, psychological and occult principles, not scientific principles. As such, the scientific community would never accept acupuncture as a truly practical medical procedure.

Over reliance on alternative therapies should be kept to a minimum since practitioners are not usually trained doctors that are able to recognize serious illnesses from their symptoms.

Acupuncture needs to be administered in hygienic premises on a patient that is not suffering in any way, e.g. exhausted, bleeding or heart trouble. What must be remembered is that all of these dangers can be kept to an absolute minimum through using trained/ professional acupuncturists.
Alternative Medicine
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