Is electroacupuncture safe?

For many people the prospect of having needles inserted into their skin and a current passed between them can be more than a little daunting. In this article we look at whether or not the practice of electroacupuncture is safe.

Common concerns about electroacupuncture

There are many concerns that surround the use of electroacupuncture, and these largely revolve around the technique itself. Electroacupuncture involves the insertion of needles into the skin, which in itself is a concern for some people. This technique also involves the application of a small electrical current, which is also a source of worry for some people.

Is electroacupuncture safe?

While the aforementioned worries are concerns to many patients looking into electroacupuncture, in practice this technique has proven very safe.

The insertion of needles has been shown, through the widespread use of traditional acupuncture, to be a safe and reliable practice. The needles used are always sterile, and a trained acupuncturist will also swab the skin that is about to be treated in a sanitary and hygienic environment, dramatically reducing the risk of infection.

Acupuncturists are trained to insert needles in pre-determined acupuncture points, and each point is associated with needles of a particular length, thereby ensuring that there is no accidental injury to vital organs. In recent investigations into the safety of acupuncture, it was found that incidences of infection or injury were almost exclusively attributed to practitioners who lacked the appropriate qualifications and training.

The electrical current applied through electroacupuncture is extremely small, and it is applied between two needles that have been inserted into the skin. This means that the area affected by the current is restricted, and no unwanted electricity is passed on to the rest of the body. Again the most important point to make is that a very small current is applied during treatment, and this will pose no risk to healthy people.

There are, however, instances where the use of electroacupuncture is not safe. People with pacemakers or lasting heart problems should not make use of this treatment as even the small electrical current involved can affect heart function. Similarly, electroacupuncture is not recommended to people with a history of either stroke or epilepsy.

Generally speaking however, electroacupuncture is extremely safe, particularly in the hands of a trained and experienced acupuncturist. Finding an acupuncturist with the necessary qualifications is, however, important, as is talking to your doctor about the treatment if you are suffering from any kind of vascular or cardiac problem. If you have any concerns about the treatment, you should talk to either your doctor or acupuncturist.

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