Case Report: Fainting During Acupuncture Treatment

Altern Ther Health Med. 2020 May;26(3):58-60.


Context: The first issue to be considered in acupuncture is the safety of and adverse effects from treatment. Fainting is an uncommon adverse reaction. Some researchers believe that fainting is related to the mechanism underlying acupuncture treatment, but due to moral and technical issues, studies involving fainting during the acupuncture process haven't been conducted.

Objective: The study intended to determine if specific risk factors are associated with fainting during acupuncture treatment.

Design: The research team performed 2 case studies involving fainting during acupuncture.

Setting: The study took place in the Physiotherapy Departments of the Leribe Motebang Hospital and the Mamohau Hospital in the Kingdom of Lesotho.

Participants: Participants were 2 out of 2050 patients who received acupuncture treatment between October 2017 and April 2018 at one of the hospitals. They had fainted, with different clinical manifestations, during acupuncture treatment. Their main symptoms were dizziness, general weakness associated forehead sweating, palpitations, dyspnea, and nausea.

Results: In both cases, the patient had complained of hunger before treatment. Both claimed that they had never experienced such a situation previously.

Conclusions: The research team suggests that the fainting occurred for the patients in the two case studies secondary to the hungry state. Hunger may be one of the most important causes of fainting connected to acupuncture. The failure of a practitioner to perform treatment for fainting in a timely and effective manner, or his or her improper handling of it, can lead to serious consequences. Therefore, factors that may cause fainting should be minimized to avoid their occurrence during acupuncture.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Therapy / adverse effects*
  • Acupuncture Therapy / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors
  • Syncope*