New patients sometimes ask me, “Why do I have to come to acupuncture so often?”
The number of acupuncture treatments needed depends on you and on the length of time that your problem has existed.
If your difficulty has bothered you for years, you will need a good deal more treatment than someone else who wrenched their back last week. In the latter case, maybe only a couple of treatments are needed.
Even then, treatments are more effective when you have them closer together. At my Chicago acupuncture office I find treatment most successful, starting with appointments that are scheduled close together and tapering off as you feel the cumulative results.
Here is a common example: a patient who has suffered from intense sciatica for 7 months might start treatment at 2 appointments per week. Often, this patient will feel relief after 1 or 2 sessions but needs to continue coming in 2 times a week for the first 2-6 weeks. After that, as the symptoms decrease, we reduce appointments to 1 time per week, moving to every few weeks and continuing in this fashion as the pain is lessened. Ideally the relief will last longer and longer until hopefully it is gone for good.
Acupuncture, Chinese Herbs and Cupping are healing and they do a wonderful job of repairing you, but the philosophy is not that you are broken, but that you are out of balance. In Chinese Medicine, the onset of serious or uncomfortable symptoms indicates that you’ve been unhealthy and out of balance prior to your uncomfortable symptom – maybe for a long time!
To answer the original question, “Why do I have to come to acupuncture appointments so often?” My goal is to return you to a healthy state of being, where symptoms don’t return. This takes time. Your body has work to do to reclaim and sustain health. Think of it as similar to taking a course of antibiotics regularly for a period of time in order to kill the infection; one strong pill may start the healing process but is not enough to do the full job.
Acupuncture is amazing and often will give you quick relief, sometimes immediately! However to sustain the results, you will probably need more treatments over time.
Enjoy your treatments!