I went to see a holistic doctor and in her sessions she does acupuncture. My second time with her I was fine leaving office and when I went to bed. I woke up in the middle of the night with a sore throat, aches, coldness and stuffy nose. Can acupunct

If we are talking about straight causation, like an adverse effect from treatment, then the answer is probably not. There are many surveys of adverse events, and colds and flu are not recorded as an adverse effect of treatment. With over 4 million treatments a year in the UK there are bound to be a number of coincidences where a cold or flu virus takes hold at the same time as a treatment but is not directly related to it.

Having said that, there are occasions when treatment can release pathogens which the body has stored but not properly dealt with, and it is just on the margins of possibility that this might have happened. The ancient Chinese saw the symptoms of what we now explain as viruses arising from 'invasions' of pathogenic factors, often expressed as cold, wind or damp. If the body has had such an invasion but the person's constitutional energy has not been strong enough to expel it fully it might take treatment at a later date to 'release' the problem. If this were the case then someone might experience a short and sharp return of symptoms. The effect would be short-lived, though; this is like a ripple on the surface as something leaves rather than a full scale viral attack. Although this can happen, the 'getting worse to get better' effect, it is not that common.

The confounding factor in giving an explanation, however, is that if acupuncture treatment was only a part of what was done in a holistic treatment there may have been other interventions or modalities which could have been responsible for what happened. 

On balance, though, we suspect it was a probably coincidence, and hope that it has not been too troublesome for you.



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