Does Acupuncture Cause Bleeding?


Experiencing acupuncture for the first time may be daunting for many people. Thankfully, it’s a misconception that needling is a painful or extremely uncomfortable procedure! At worst, you may feel a little pressure and slight warmth during acupuncture. But does acupuncture cause bleeding? 

Acupuncture may cause minor bleeding, but this will rarely worsen. Slight bleeding is a common side-effect of needling, though some people may not experience it. It’s nothing to worry about, and any bleeding will stop within minutes.

When can bleeding occur in acupuncture?

As acupuncture is the practice of gently inserting needles across soft tissues in your body, it’s reasonable to expect some bleeding after your session. This bleeding is likely minimal, and most people can expect clotting before leaving the clinic.

A qualified practitioner will ensure you are clean and soothed after your session and will establish expectations with you before needling begins. They will assure you of any risks involved and will discuss any medical conditions you may have that could affect your acupuncture.

When should I worry about acupuncture bleeding?

You must let your acupuncturist know as soon as possible if you suffer from any blood disorders, are on any blood thinning medication, or if you are pregnant. In any of these cases, acupuncture may not be suitable or safe.

For example, if you suffer from a blood clotting disorder (such as hemophilia), you may find it difficult to stop bleeding after removing needles. A qualified acupuncturist will, instead, offer you alternative therapies (such as cupping) where there is zero risk of bleeding.

In extremely rare cases, bleeding may occur if an acupuncture needle punctures a large vessel or artery. Providing you book acupuncture with a certified, experienced practitioner, the risk of this happening is negligible. Always consult with an acupuncturist with provable experience and qualifications.

In the rare case that bleeding occurs through an accidental vein or artery puncture, your acupuncturist will immediately seek to stop the bleeding and bring the session to a halt. You’ll be able to discuss these negligible risks with your practitioner before any needling starts.

Are acupuncture needles safe?

A qualified acupuncturist will always use either meticulously sterilized or single-use needles. Providing your specialist follows either procedure, you can expect your acupuncture to be safe and effective – whether you’re having treatment for sciatica, frozen shoulders, or otherwise.

Bleeding after acupuncture doesn’t mean you are coming to any harm. It’s natural for the skin to let a little blood after puncturing. Your acupuncturist will help set expectations and guide you through what happens post-needling before you start.

Before treatment begins, you’ll have access to all the details of what you can expect, including signing a consent form. Always ensure you book acupuncture with a specialist that can prove their expertise and qualifications.

Does acupuncture cause bruising?

Acupuncture can cause bruising alongside minor bleeding, though not all people experience it. Bruising occurs when minor capillaries in your skin puncture – e.g., through a small injury or through needling.

Bruising through acupuncture, like bleeding, is nothing to worry about – it’s a fairly common side effect. Experienced acupuncturists will strive to avoid causing bruising wherever possible by carefully inserting needles into only the necessary areas needing treatment. 

The best acupuncturists are extremely gentle – and will, again, set full expectations with you before a session begins.

Do I need to worry about any other side effects of acupuncture?

Common side effects of acupuncture are minor – such as slight soreness, light bleeding, and mild bruising. Other common side effects may occur depending on your age, physical condition, and/or any medication you may be taking at the time of treatment.

For example, in rare cases, needling can cause skin irritation, particularly if a patient is allergic to the metal used. In even rarer cases, acupuncture may cause nausea, lightheadedness, and fatigue. 

During your strength assessment at your acupuncture clinic, your practitioner will assess the risks of you developing any side effects post-treatment. If your referring physician, your acupuncturist, or both, feel it is unsafe to proceed, they will consider other treatments for you.

It’s vital to tell your acupuncturist and/or physician if any of the following apply to you before your session begins:

  • You’re on blood medication
  • You’re on general medication that can thin the blood
  • You have a blood disorder (such as HIV) or blood weakness (such as hemophilia)
  • You’re pregnant
  • You’re trying to conceive a child
  • You’re at heightened risk of any type of infection
  • You’re allergic to certain metals or silicone
  • You’re diabetic or pre-diabetic
  • You experience fainting, fits or seizures
  • You have a heart condition (such as valve damage)
  • You use an electrical heart implant or need a pacemaker

Can acupuncture cause internal bleeding?

It’s exceptionally rare for acupuncture to cause internal bleeding, providing you book with a qualified and regulated specialist.

Qualified acupuncturists work carefully to insert needles slowly around trigger points in your body. Full acupuncture training helps specialists to learn how to avoid arteries and organs, therefore making the chances of internal bleeding extremely slim.

While this risk is rare, it’s natural to have such worries before starting your first acupuncture session. Don’t feel embarrassed to raise these concerns with your practitioner.

Is bleeding during acupuncture normal?

Bleeding during acupuncture is normal, as needles will gently puncture your skin. This bleeding will usually stop soon after your practitioner removes the needles. Always tell your acupuncturist of any medical conditions that may prevent healthy clotting.

It’s vital to book acupuncture with a qualified expert, providing years of careful expertise and practice to patients of all ages. At Lycoming Orthopedic & Sports Acupuncture, we take exceptional care to make sure you’re comfortable and safe throughout all procedures you book in.

If you’d like to learn more about how acupuncture works, and want to book your first session for a stiff neck or calf strain, call our clinic today – or book online via form. Acupuncture could help you regain a full range of movement – and manage your pain for the better.

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