What are the side effects of Acupuncture?

What are the side effects of acupuncture?

Acupuncture has several very common side effects. You will probably find after your session that you are more relaxed, less stressed and calmer. You may find you sleep better and that your digestion improves. If you are having acupuncture to treat an injury, you should feel less pain and your recovery should be faster.

We love acupuncture for these side effects alone.

But what about the rarer, and less enjoyable side effects?

Luckily, although unpleasant side effects are sometimes experienced, none of them are serious and none of them are likely to last very long at all.

Fatigue or Tiredness

Sometimes, when your body is run down, acupuncture leaves you feeling exhausted. It is worth listening to this warning sign. It is your body telling you that it needs a break. You should:

  • Try not to do anything strenuous or stressful for the remainder of the day
  • Enjoy a soak in the tub
  • Get a good night’s sleep

When you wake up, you should feel much better, and able to enjoy the positive aspects of your acupuncture experience.

Soreness or Bruising

You may feel soreness around the areas where the acupuncture needle is placed. You may even bruise a little, but again this is extremely uncommon.

Soreness tends to last for less than 24 hours. If your treatment is likely to make you sore, Pippa will let you know during your session.

Bruising can last longer but shouldn’t hurt.


An acupuncture session lasts around 45 minutes, and during that time you will be lying still. Some people find that, when they get up, they feel a little dizzy. There could be several reasons for that, including:

  • Coming to the session with an empty stomach
  • Naturally having low blood pressure, that acupuncture could have reduced further
  • Getting up too quickly

At the end of your session, Pippa will ask you to sit up slowly, which should reduce the risk of dizziness. If you do feel dizzy, or faint, you should sit down for a few minutes or until the dizziness has passed.

Symptoms that get worse rather than better

Occasionally patients feel worse after acupuncture, rather than better. This can actually be seen as a positive sign, although it may not feel like it at the time.

Acupuncture affects the systems in your body and so you may feel more tender or more sensitive as your body starts to heal. The result may be that your symptoms may feel worse before they get better. This is actually part of the healing cycle and is a sign that your treatment is actually working.


The side effects of acupuncture are rare and short-lived, and shouldn’t be cause for any concern.

However, if you experience side effects that you feel are lasting too long, or are too much then please contact us straight away.



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