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Acupuncture can and should be practised safely in civilised social settings
  1. Jongbae J Park1,2
  1. 1Asian Medicine & Acupuncture Research, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, School of Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
  2. 2Center for Pain Research and Innovation, UNC School of Dentistry, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
  1. Correspondence to Jongbae J Park, Asian Medicine & Acupuncture Research, Department of Physical Med & Rehabilitation, UNC-Chapel Hill, School of Medicine, CB#7200, N1181 Memorial Hospital, 101 Manning Drive, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7200, USA; acupuncture{at}

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Acupuncture has been practised for more than 2000 years and is known to have minimal risk.1 ,2 Serious adverse events including pneumothorax, however, are not unheard of.3 Safe practice of acupuncture requires informed and concordant actions of health professionals, patients, and society at large.

On 28 April 2011, the media reported a case of laparoscopic surgery to remove an acupuncture needle (60 mm needle body and 20 mm handle), which penetrated the right bronchus of a former president of South Korea (who served from 1988 to 1993), Tae-Woo Rho.4 The presence of an acupuncture needle was only found by an X-ray during the examination for chest pain that occurred about 3 weeks after a session of acupuncture. Despite an official petition from the Association of Korean Medicine to release the identity of the person who performed the acupuncture, the case was mysteriously closed without releasing any enlightening information on how the needle ended up …

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