I was at a business networking group meeting for the first time a few weeks ago. People were asking me about my business and what I do. One girl, who I just met, said, "Oh I've had Acupuncture before. I did it for weight loss."
I said, "Oh, that's great. Did it work?"
She said, "No, but I only went once."
I was a bit surprised, "Well, it definitely takes more than one time to be effective."
"How many treatments will I need?"
This is a common question and concern for my patients. Many people aren't that familiar with Acupuncture and how it works so, of course you wouldn't know how many treatments it takes. But this is an important question to have reflected on before you begin a treatment regimen. If you have the correct expectations then you are more likely to stay with it and be happier with the results you do get.
Acupuncture is essentially resetting your physiology to work the way it was designed to work. We place needles to draw your bodies attention to an area that has been neglected and your body heals itself. That's the Readers Digest version. Treatments build upon each other, we are trying to break the cycle of dysfunction your body systems have been in.
For example: If you have been having insomnia for three weeks, waking up at 3am every morning and unable to fall asleep. The first treatment may have many outcomes, you may wake up the next morning at 3 am cursing Acupuncture and thinking, "that didn't work, what a waste!" You may wake up at 3:45 am, with slight improvement. Or you may have complete resolution of the issue and able to sleep all the way until 7, until of course your kids wake you up!
In all of the above situations, you need to go back for another treatment! Even the situation where you slept until 7 am. That is a great result for one treatment but we want it to stick. Each appointment is giving your body momentum. Picture trying to push a heavy round tire on a flat surface. In the beginning you have to exert a lot of effort to get that thing moving but once you are consistently pushing it, it becomes easier and easier to exert less effort. This is the best way I can describe Acupuncture treatments. In the beginning, we may need to do two treatments a week for the first two weeks or so. Then, depending on your symptoms, we can begin to space the treatments one week apart and then one month apart. Until we get to the point where you only need to come in once every few months for a "tune up."
There are other factors that also greatly improve your chance for success with Acupuncture. See the following:
1. How long have you had the problem?
It is usually quicker to fix a problem closer to onset. The Acute phase of a disorder or injury tends to react better. Once your digestive problems are 10 years old and you've been on medication for 8 of those years, I can still help, but it will take longer and more effort to get that tire moving.
2. Overall, How healthy are you?
If you are young, in shape, eat well, sleep well, and don't take any medications, you will react to Acupuncture quicker than someone who is on a mile high list of medications. If you are the latter, have hope, Acupuncture can help, but you will probably require more treatments than someone who isn't.
3. How compliant are you?
If you LISTEN to all your practitioner says. . . you'll not only be my favorite! But your body will thank you for listening to the expert. If herbs are apart of your treatment . . . take them! If you have a knee injury and I tell you to take a break from running marathons while we rehab it. . . do it! If I tell you to give up Gluten because it's destroying your poor tummy. . . do it!
All treatment plans are to be decided on and discussed with you and your practitioner. When we give you suggestions on spacing of treatment, it is for your benefit, and may actually save you long term. Momentum is our friend, we want to break the cycle of pain and sickness. Acupuncture is amazing, but it takes more than one treatment. Please contact me with any questions you have about this process. I hope this helps shed some light.
-Jennifer Niemeyer L.Ac. Sign up for our Wellness Newsletter
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