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Q: Is it normal to feel sore during and after an acupuncture treatment together with bruises?

A: Acupuncture is a very safe method of encouraging the body to promote natural healing and improve function, however, many people feel a brief stinging sensation, like a pinprick, during insertion of the needles. Others experience a dull ache or soreness around the needle after it goes in.  Bruising is a fairly  common occurrence at certain acupuncture points.

A side effect that I have seen in my own practice is the original symptoms worsening for a few days after an acupuncture treatment.  Sometimes other general changes in appetite, sleep, bowel or urination patterns, or emotional state may be triggered. These should not cause concern, as they are simply indications that the acupuncture is starting to work.  My teacher explained it to me like this: Acupuncture is smoothing out blocked Qi (energy) that is stuck in areas of your body. When a garden hose gets a kink in it, the water stops flowing. When you straighten the hose, the built up pressure makes the water burst out in the beginning. This is what can happen when you first have acupuncture.

This initial pain should wear off within 24-48 hours and you will then notice if the acupuncture has improved your condition.

Speak with your practitioner about the discomfort you felt from the needles.  He or she may be able to change his or her technique and the type of needles used to eliminate the pain.

Please discuss what you have been experiencing with your acupuncturist. Your comfort is a priority. The more you communicate with the practitioner, the more he or she will be able to help you.