Sterile needles designed for a single use are the most commonly available in the U.S. To assure safety many states require certification by the National Commission for the Certification of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. A requirement for board certification is CNT - Clean Needle Technique certification. CNT is a set procedure for handling and use of acupuncture needles and was adapted from the procedures for hypodermic injections. However, not allacupuncturists observe CNT. It isn’t required in all parts of the world. So it’s very important to make certain an acupuncturist uses safe needle procedures before taking treatment with him or her.
CNT minimizes the possibility of infection but there are other risks. The most serious is the puncture of an organ. Though the research on the frequency of organ puncture is self-contradictory and inconclusive it is safe to say that organ punctures are not common occurrences.
Other risks are more nuisance than danger. They include nausea, dizziness, bruising, and fainting - To minimize the danger of falling, be sure you are well supported and/or preferably in a lying position when receiving acupuncture.