Occasionally the original symptoms worsen for a few days, or other general changes in appetite, sleep, bowel or urination patterns, or emotional state may be triggered. These should not be seen as cause for concern, as they are simply indications that the acupuncture is starting to work.

The most common side effects are minor bruising or irritation at the needle insertion site.  Less common, but other side effects to be aware of: bent needle, fainting, needle shock or dizziness.  On rare occasions, pneumothorax or puncturing of an organ may occur. Acupuncturists are trained to needle over these areas at a certain angle and depth to avoid this happening. This should not occur if the health professional has appropriate training. Therefore, it is essential that you receive acupuncture from an adequately trained health professional. Always ask about their level of training. Informed consent is part of every consultation process, so if you are apprehensive about needles being inserted at a particular site of risk you must let your health professional know and they can then choose other acupuncture points.