Guidelines on Basic Training and Safety in Acupuncture
(1999; 35 pages) [French] [Spanish] View the PDF document
Table of Contents
View the documentAcknowledgements
Open this folder and view contentsIntroduction
Open this folder and view contentsSection I: Basic training in acupuncture
Close this folderSection II: Safety in acupuncture
Open this folder and view contents1. Prevention of infection
Open this folder and view contents2. Contraindications
Open this folder and view contents3. Accidents and untoward reactions
View the document4. Electrical stimulation and laser therapy
Open this folder and view contents5. Injury to important organs
View the document6. Patient records
Open this folder and view contentsAppendix
View the documentAnnex I: List of participants

Section II: Safety in acupuncture

In competent hands, acupuncture is generally a safe procedure with few contraindications or complications. Its most commonly used form involves needle penetration of the skin and may be compared to a subcutaneous or intramuscular injection. Nevertheless, there is always a potential risk, however slight, of transmitting infection from one patient to another (e.g. HIV or hepatitis) or of introducing pathogenic organisms. Safety in acupuncture therefore requires constant vigilance in maintaining high standards of cleanliness, sterilization and aseptic technique.

There are, in addition, other risks which may not be foreseen or prevented but for which the acupuncturist must be prepared. These include: broken needles, untoward reactions, pain or discomfort, inadvertent injury to important organs and, of course, certain risks associated with the other forms of therapy5 classified under the heading of "acupuncture".

5 Acupunture treatment is not limited to needling, but may also include: acupressure, electro-acupunture, laser acupuncture, moxibustion, cupping, scraping and magnetotherapy.

Finally, there are the risks due to inadequate training of the acupuncturist. These include inappropriate selection of patients, errors of technique, and failure to recognize contraindications and complications, or to deal with emergencies when they arise.

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