A team of authors from university hospitals in Munich and Beijing, has concluded that acupuncture is one of the safest medical treatments available. In a systematic review, they surveyed data from 21 studies, covering nearly 13 million acupuncture treatments.
Meta-analyses indicated one minor adverse event in 9.3% of patients during a series of treatments. Serious adverse events were rare, with estimates of 1.01 per 10 000 patients and 8 million treatments. Those requiring any medical treatment were uncommon, and estimated at 1.14 per 1000 patients. Half of the adverse events reported, involved bleeding, pain or inflammation at the needling site.
The authors conclude that acupuncture can be considered among the safer treatments in medicine. Serious adverse events are rare, and the most common minor ones are very mild.
(Acupuncture-related adverse events: systematic review & meta-analyses of prospective clinical studies. BMJ Open, 6 September 2021.)