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Acupuncture - Topic Overview

Is acupuncture safe?

In general, acupuncture is safe when done by a certified provider. A state license ensures that the provider has a certain level of training and follows certain guidelines. But there are still a few states where acupuncture is not licensed.

In very rare cases, problems may occur after acupuncture. You could get an infection, especially if the needles aren't sterile. But licensed providers throw away their needles after one use. Make sure your provider uses a new pack of sterile needles every time.

Talk with your doctor if you have other questions about the safety of acupuncture. Always tell your doctor if you are using a treatment like acupuncture.

Choosing an acupuncturist

Check to see if your state licenses providers.

Many providers also may have a certificate from the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. This is a nonprofit group that promotes standards in acupuncture and Oriental medicine.

Ask your doctor and friends for recommendations.

You also may want to pick a provider who:

  • Will work on a treatment plan with you, your doctor, and other health professionals.
  • Clearly explains what he or she is doing during treatment.
  • Explains how often you may need treatment and how much it will cost.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: June 11, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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