Details of 43 minor adverse events associated with 34 407 acupuncture treatments, all reported as “significant” by practitioners

Minor adverse eventsNo of occurrencesDescriptions
Severe nausea, actual fainting, severe dizziness, heavy sweating, and vomiting125 cases of severe nausea (2 with feeling faint, sweating, and dizziness; 1 started next day and lasted several days; 1 started 4 days later with angina and nose bleeds); 4 fainted (2 with nausea and dizziness); 1 severe dizziness and feeling faint; 1 heavy sweating and slight needle shock; 1 vomiting after treatment
Unexpected, severe, and prolonged aggravation of existing symptoms71 difficulty walking the next day because of stiff, painful legs; 1 increase in shoulder pain for 20 minutes; 1 neck and shoulder pain increase for 1 week; 1 morning sickness worsened; 1 diarrhoea in patient with colitis; 1 constipation in patient with irritable bowel; 1 temporary aggravation of neck pain
Prolonged and unacceptable pain and bruising53 local pain at site of needling; 2 heavy bruising
Psychological and emotional reactions41 emotional outburst and anger at practitioner; 1 feeling of panic with sensation of heat and sweatiness; 1 intense emotional release, feeling manic, relaxed, rage, and confusion; 1 depression with anxiety
Avoidable errors32 forgotten needles; 1 moxibustion burns at 2 points
Miscellaneous symptoms101 haematuria next day; 1 headache next day; 1 unwell, tired, sore throat, breathless, and achy; 1 knee went weak and patient could not stand on it; 1 very tired next day; 1 felt sick and exhausted; 1 severe drowsiness; 1 tiredness next day with 10 hours of diarrhoea; 1 rash after taking herbs; 1 rash developed on abdomen a few days after treatment