Acupuncture’s Side Effects

Pharmacy drugs and surgery are the two things Western medicine offers for chronic health issues. Unfortunately they always come with side effects and longer term complications. The most wonderful thing about acupuncture is that you can get all-natural, holistic healing without compromising your body - which makes it a more sustainable healing modality in contemporary medicine.

Before I became an acupuncturist, I knew there was a deeper and more encompassing reason for my symptoms. I had always healed myself naturally growing up, eating good food and being an athlete. Taking a chemical prescription to alter my hormones and lift my depression seemed avoidable to me.

So I wanted to list some short ‘side effects’ from acupuncture. This list is comprises some of the most common things I see in and out of my office. Every person is different, and every experience is different, but here are the Greatest Hits:

  • Deeper sleep

  • Improved digestion

  • Better mood

  • Increased libido

  • Regular menses

  • More energy

  • Less anxiety

  • Calmness, relaxation, and centeredness

  • Emotional release and letting go

  • Increased confidence

  • Decreased pain and inflammation

  • Fewer cravings as well as higher sensitivity to addictive or toxic substances

  • Fewer instances of stress and/or decreased stress response

  • Greater sense of ease and joy

Wow, if these are the side effects, imagine life on acupuncture!

When I first began receiving regular acupuncture I experienced a fresh start in my life. I decluttered, processed old emotions, made time for creative work, streamlined my task list, and began working out regularly again, getting a membership at a yoga studio which got me into yoga and the fitness world (and now I am a yoga teacher!). I felt I was becoming a new person. I noticed I was calmer and more present. I experienced more vitality as a result, which snowballed into more confidence and the desire to keep reaping the better results I was starting to see. Moreover, the reasons why I was suffering, some of what was contributing to my symptoms were becoming more apparent to me as treatments progressed. I felt I had choices with my health instead of just experiencing the onslaught of my worst days becoming more numerous. I finally felt in control again, and empowered to make the changes that felt most natural and best for me.

After each treatment, allow twelve hours for the body to acclimate and assimilate. Don’t do anything in excess, and make sure you get rest and good nourishment after a treatment. Avoid caffeine and alcohol in the 24-Hour period before and after your treatments. Don’t be afraid of naps and self-soothing techniques. Stretch. Surround yourself with good people. See what comes naturally to you as part of your healing process.

Keep in mind in this 12-48 hour window after a treatment there is the possibility the Law of Cure could take effect. Law Of Cure is when old symptoms you once had reoccur in the first 24-48 hours after a treatment. It doesn’t happen after every treatment - only when the body can make the chi available to clear it out of latency. Although this may not seem to make linear sense in our Western minds, it is actually a sign of deep release. It’s actually a mechanism and a sign that things are improving.

If you are having a Law of Cure response, schedule another acupuncture session to help clear any discomfort.

Massage, cranial sacral, Rolfing, and these kind of treatments should only enhance acupuncture’s benefits if scheduled in the same week but not on the same day. Working out too hard at the gym or doing intense saunas, or intense detoxes that deprive the body of proper nourishment on the day of your treatment are less advisable and could result in headaches, dizziness, lightheadedness, or even fainting.

Make sure to drink lots of water and eat at least one to two hours before a treatment (but preferably not right before).

Overall, be prepared and make time to enjoy their benefits for your health and your life.

Let yourself go nature to notice the seasons, and how they show up in your body. This is the best advice! Listen to inside yourself in nature and do what feels natural to you.

What side effects have you had post-acupuncture? Leave a comment below!