Generally speaking, acupuncture treatment is safe if it is performed properly by a well-trained practitioner. Unlike many drugs, it is non-toxic, and adverse reactions are minimal. This is probably one of the chief reasons why acupuncture is so popular in the treatment of chronic pain in many countries. As mentioned previously, acupuncture is comparable with morphine preparations in its effectiveness against chronic pain, but without the adverse effects of morphine, such as dependency.
Even if the effect of acupuncture therapy is less potent than that of conventional treatments, acupuncture may still be worth considering because of the toxicity or adverse effects of conventional treatments. For example, there are reports of controlled clinical trials showing that acupuncture is effective in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (4-6), although not as potent as corticosteroids. Because, unlike corticosteroids, acupuncture treatment, does not cause serious side-effects, it seems reasonable to use acupuncture for treating this condition, despite the difference in effectiveness.