Acupuncture: A Clinical Review

Victor S. Sierpina, MD; Moshe A. Frenkel, MD


South Med J. 2005;98(3):330-337. 

In This Article

Relative Contraindications

Acupuncture during pregnancy is not contraindicated, but an acupuncturist must be well trained and must avoid using points that can stimulate uterine contractility. In the peripartum period, acupuncture may be desirable for either pain control or stimulation of labor. Acupuncture and acupressure can be useful for nausea during pregnancy without involving such forbidden points. Other points such as the umbilicus, nipple, points over major vessels, or over an infant's fontanelles are likewise forbidden by both contemporary and classic acupuncture texts. Acupuncture during menses is relatively contraindicated, as it may not be as effective during this period. Initiating acupuncture while a patient is taking medication, particularly corticosteroids, benzodiazepines, and narcotics, may reduce its effectiveness. Practically speaking, however, many patients come to the acupuncturist while taking these medications and tapering them while acupuncture treatments take effect is the most realistic course. Patients with allergy to metal, patients taking anticoagulant drugs, and those with certain bleeding disorders must be considered on a case-by-case basis.[5]