Who can’t have acupuncture?

Virtually all medical treatments, procedures, and drugs carry with them contraindications. These are a set of conditions which, if met, make the treatment in question unsuitable for a particular person. Following these contraindications is vital in modern healthcare as it prevents complications that can pose a threat to a person’s life and wellbeing. In this article we look at the contraindications for acupuncture, a therapy that isn’t considered a medical procedure here in the UK, but does still carry with it some of the same ramifications.

What are the contraindications for acupuncture?

Anyone suffering from a bleeding disorder is not suited to acupuncture. The treatment involves the application of fine needles through the skin, and while in most cases these needles won’t even draw blood, anyone suffering from a clotting or bleeding disorder may find themselves bleeding excessively should they undergo the treatment.

An example of a relatively common bleeding disorder is haemophilia, a condition which essentially stops blood from being able to clot (thicken and scab over at a site of injury). Anyone taking blood thinning medication like Warfarin is also not advised to pursue acupuncture, these medications  have a similar effect to some bleeding disorders in that a user will probably bleed profusely if they receive acupuncture.

In very rare cases, mostly where an acupuncturist is not appropriately qualified or experienced, needles can penetrate into organs or other parts of the body where they can pose a health risk. If you are suffering from any kind of bleeding disorder this kind of injury can be extremely dangerous, more so than usual.

While generally considered safe during pregnancy (provided equipment is kept sterilised and a trained acupuncturist is used), there are certain acupuncture points (places where needles are applied to the body) that can be dangerous to pregnant women. It is important that you inform your acupuncturist if you are pregnant so they know to avoid such areas.

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