Extremely fine stainless steel needles are used. To avoid the risk of transmission of contagious disease, all needles are pre-sterilized and pre-packaged by the manufacturer, and disposable after being used.
Unlike injection, there is no medicine on the acupuncture needles. The acupuncture aims to stimulate one's own internal healing power, it is unlikely to cause any side effects as the medication. Therefore, it is a particularly safe form of therapy.
Many people, when learning acupuncture, are very worried about the fact that needles may penetrate nerves or organs to cause paralyse and serious damage. However, this possability is very little because a well qualified acupuncturist has good knowledge of anatomy and good needling technique to avoid this potential hazard. Occasionally a small amount of bleeding at the site of needled insertion does occur, then a small local bruise can result, but these are not dangerous and never been reported as adverse reactions. The use of an electro-acupuncture is contraindicated if the patient has a cardiac pacemaker, because it may either switch off the pacemaker or drive it at a dangerous rate.
In conclusion, acupuncture is a very safe procedure, providing the practitioner has well training and experience. Over the last 22 years of practice, we have never seen any damage caused by acupuncture. All the serious acupuncture adverse reactions reported by the literature are due to inadequate training, thoughtlessness or incompetence of the practioners. For the safety of the general public, the College of TCM and Acupuncture of B.C. advises you to seek out a licensed registrant. To find out a licensed registrant in your city, you can go to www.ctcma.bc.ca or call the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of British Columbia (CTCMA) at (604) 638-3108.