ZocdocAnswersAre alternative healing procedures considered safe?

Question

Are alternative healing procedures considered safe?

I'm a 30 year old woman considering acupuncture. How do I know they've sterilized everything? Is it rude to ask?

Answer

Acupuncture is a relatively popular form of alternative treatment. You should not need to worry about any risks related to sterilization or infection, as all reputable licensed practitioners of acupuncture will pay close attention to those details. There have been cases of blood infections transmitted by dirty acupuncture needles, but these have occurred in less reputable clinics. However, if you feel nervous, it is never wrong to ask in order to have your questions answered. Other than the minimal risk with the needle insertion, acupuncture should be safe. However, there is no clear scientific evidence that it is of any benefit to you, either. Most of the studies that have looked at the use of acupuncture in the treatment of a wide variety of medical conditions have found no improvement in the conditions through the use of acupuncture. One possible helpful effect of the acupuncture may be that it promotes relaxation and relieves stress, but this may not translate into actual objective medical improvement. Nevertheless, as long as you use a reputable clinic, there is no evidence that acupuncture is harmful to you and you may be one of the people who find it to be extremely helpful for your particular condition.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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