One of the wonderful things about using acupuncture to control a problem is that there are few, if any side effects. It is a safe, effective method of treatment. The most common complaint is bruising near the needling sites. This can take up to two weeks to disperse, but mostly the bruising is minimal.
There have been rare instances reported of people fainting, though this is far more common if one is being needled in a chair than lying down. There are reports of infection or scaring, but this is very uncommon. In theory the needle could break off at the level of the skin, however the professors I asked about this could not name a single instance in which this happened.
Additionally the acupuncturist does need to be careful when needling around the lungs as it is possible to cause a pneumothorax. Pregnant women should be cautious as it is not impossible that acupuncture could cause spontaneous miscarriage. For this reason, anyone who thinks they might be pregnant or who is hoping to become pregnant, should inform their acupuncturist.
While some people find the needles painful while going in and often an acupuncturist with a strong needling technique may cause some momentary discomfort, any point that is keeping a patient from relaxing should be reported to the acupuncturist and discussed. If a patient is worried about any feelings or sensations, they should feel free to talk to their practitioner as well.
The acupuncture treatment should be an overall pleasant and relaxing affair. It should not be an hour of torture.