Acupuncture is considered a safe medical treatment. For this reason, many physicians and practitioners believe that acupuncture is a beneficial treatment as an adjunct to other medical treatments, and/or as an alternative to medical treatments. In certain situations, acupuncture may be used in combination with conventional painkillers, or to replace them all together. When practised properly, acupuncture is safe.
Relatively few complications from the use of acupuncture have been reported to the US FDA -in light of the millions of people treated each year and the number of acupuncture needles used. Still, complications can arise from inadequate sterilization of needles and from improper delivery of treatments. Practitioners should use a new set of disposable needles taken from a sealed package for each patient and should swab treatment sites with alcohol or another disinfectant before inserting needles.