A recent patient asked about bruising after acupuncture. While this is common it can still be concerning. Some folks tend to bruise easily and others may be taking medications that can lead to bruising more easily, like blood thinners.
In a straight sense of what is happening, tiny capillaries are opened after the insertion of the needle. If you think of our nerves, arteries and veins being similar to roots and branches of a tree, they spread out in all directions and get smaller and smaller as they reach out. Capillaries are the tiny ends of the blood vessels. Some of these are very small, too small for anyone to see without a microscope. If a needle should contact one, a tiny amount of blood may come out of it.
This results in a bruise. Depending on a person’s constitution will determine the severity of the bruise.
If a person has a weak spleen or is Qi deficient, the bruise may be greater. Our careful acupuncturists are trained to avoid this response as much as possible.
I don’t see it that often, but it can happen.
If you are concerned about a bruise that has resulted from acupuncture, be sure to tell your acupuncturist. They are always monitoring results of every treatment and will be able to adjust techniques to deter this response. We never needle into nerves, arteries, or veins as this would damage them. The tiny tips of the veins that are stagnant of blood flow, usually seen as dark, engorged veins may be bled with the purpose of ridding the body of stagnant blood. This blood is no longer functioning and can cause pain and disfunction in your body. This technique is very specific and not for everyone.
Some needle insertions may feel nervy, or shoot down the arm or leg. This is not into the nerve. Nerves are coated with thick coverings, like a cable to your TV. Our tiny needles lack the strength to enter them and we would have to work really hard to get them into a nerve. We are also trained to avoid them. To needle them may damage them and cause more harm, something that goes against the whole reason we both are there, right?
So, if you are worried about bruising, please mention it to your practitioner and we will establish a path to healing that works best for you. I always say, “not every problem is solved by sticking a needle in it!” We have lots of ways to improve your health and well-being, naturally and painlessly. No need to move mountains, just breathe, relax, and let your body, mind, and spirit return.