Malou Acupuncture
& Counselling

Acupuncture side-effects – what to expect?

After your acupuncture treatment, it’s not uncommon to experience some side effects known in Chinese medicine as a detoxing reaction. They are signs that the treatment was effective, rather than being a symptom of something wrong. They come with the curative effect for patients indicating that the body itself is adjusting or correcting as a result of the treatment. It is temporary, not everyone has it, or it can happen only once.

Rather than being a symptom of something wrong, it often a sign that the treatment was effective.

Clinical observations found that the more common acupuncture side-effects (detoxing reactions) are:

  • Tiredness,
  • Lethargy,
  • Sleepiness,
  • Abnormal dreams,
  • Feeling emotional,
  • Skin reaction or body sensations around acupuncture points, – different menstrual changes,
  • Excessive gas, etc.

If you experience any of these reactions, don’t worry, they are only short-term. Once your body detoxifies it will be in balance, meaning your yin and yang will be balanced, and your Qi and Blood will be both regulated, resulting in harmonious body energy.

Below are five common examples of detoxing reaction which explain what is happening to the body after treatment:

  • Sleepiness or fatigue

These reactions are most common in the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). There is a lot of evidence that after acupuncture or TCM medicine, patients feel weaker or sleepy, and might find it difficult to get up in the morning.  Deep sleep is the first step in the immunity adjustment and signifies a pathogenic discharge process.

Sleepiness and fatigue is the body’s reaction is the TCM  treatment of many modern common diseases, such as:

  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Anxiety
  • Depression, etc.

As many patients lack deep and effective sleep over long periods of time, many modern diseases have their roots in this long-term strong body essence consumption. After a much needed night of deep sleep, the patient wakes up feeling recovered and healthy.

TCM and acupuncture help to restore normal sleep helping patients to recover naturally. The recovery process happens slowly.

  •   Dizziness or vertigo

After a deep acupuncture session, you may experience a feeling of lightheadedness or dizziness. It’s a natural result of the rebalancing of electrical energies along the meridians of your body.

Vertigo, the sensation that you, or the environment around you, is moving or spinning, is an independent disease in Chinese and western medicine. It can occur after taking medicine for invigorating blood circulation to remove blood stasis and warming Yang and water. In TCM it means that the evil spirit has been dispersed.

  • A sense of cleansing the body or pulsing sensations

Acupuncture points are bad energy’s (or evil energy in TCM) way out, so you can feel shaky or electric sensations in them.

In treating rheumatoid arthritis or ankylosingondylitis spondylitis (a type of arthritis that affects the spine), blood circulation needs to be invigorated and kidneys strengthened. Patients can feel chilly sensations like feeling cold, chills, or general body stiffness, however, once these symptoms are gone their condition will improve.

To warm up you can use herbal liquid to soak your feet.

For those feeling pulsing in acupuncture points, acupuncture needles can be inserted in them, moxibustion or cupping can be performed to assist in dispelling the evil energy.

  • Menstrual toxins discharge

  • With female menstrual diseases, after the treatment of Chinese medicine, bad energy leaves the body with the menstrual flow.

    After two weeks of treatment, during the next period patient can discharge a large number of black clots. They typically reduce within 1-2 months after the treatment and painful periods (dysmenorrhea) improves and the patient feels warm in their lower back. These are the first signs of detoxing.

    During this period, if the patient reports symptoms of fatigue, the medicine should be stopped, and another type of herbal remedy can be used to nourish the kidneys function.

    Liver qi stagnation, heart and kidney disharmony caused by emotional insufficiency are often the characteristics of modern diseases. Due to the accelerated pace of life and the increased pressure of life, many patients carry a serious mental burden.

    Therefore the initial stage of many diseases is caused by emotions. TCM treatment can be an important method to relieve the emotional blockage of patients. When body and mind detoxifies emotions are released, but after that, patients feel relief.

    These side-effects are usually short-lived and are rarely a cause for concern. However, you know your body best. If any of the mentioned side effects feel too severe or lasting too long, or if you notice any additional reactions to an acupuncture treatment—contact your acupuncturist.