You’ve surely heard about acupuncture therapy promising to cure any illness, physical or even spiritual. But nothing can prepare you for this.

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A 65-year-old unnamed female patient who suffered from osteoarthritis, after having her knees X-rayed, was discovered to hold a mini “gold mine” just underneath her skin surrounding her joints. She said that when all the anti-inflammatory drugs she took failed to alleviate her condition, she had sought acupuncture, an ancient Chinese technique that makes use of needles to puncture certain points in the skin.

Her treatment, however, involved the kind that left the needles — believed to come in gold — embedded underneath her skin to maintain their stimulating effects.

Stimulating indeed, as needles or any foreign objects left in the body can result in inflammation or even abscesses as the body treats these materials as possible foreign threats, therefore sending cells into overdrive by forming fibrous tissues around the object, according to Dr. Ali Guermazi, professor of radiology at Boston University.

And because these needles are metal, obviously, there are a number of medical tests no longer allowed for this patient. For instance, a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test could cause the needles to shift or budge, possibly ripping nearby arteries or other tissues.

Although acupuncture traces its roots to eastern cultures, the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine reports that there were more than 3 million adults and around 150,000 children who have had received acupuncture treatments in the U.S. in 2007 alone.