Whether you are getting acupuncture for the alleviation of pain or for overall well being, determining how often and how many acupuncture treatments are needed varies from person to person.
There are 5 criteria to determine how much and how often you should get acupuncture treatments:
- Personal Goals
- Duration & intensity of symptoms
- Age & overall health profile
- Genetics & lifestyle
- Level of commitment
Personal Goals. It’s important to first decide what your particular goal is. You might be in a lot of pain and be looking for the pain to be totally alleviated.
Or, you may have daily headaches and would be happy with just one or two a week.
In more complex cases where multiple systems of the body are ailing, such as: digestive problems + frequent headaches + premenstrual depression + insomnia + neck pain, the goal may be to simply improve your bodily experience, and quality of life.
Whether you are working with an acupuncturist or considering it, first establish what type of outcome you are looking for.
Duration and intensity of symptoms. As a general rule of thumb the longer you have had a condition, the longer it will take to treat. If you throw out your back over the weekend, it’s highly unlikely you would need more than a handful of visits.
However, if you have been struggling with chronic migraines for 15 years, you could very well need 6 months of consistent, weekly care. Maybe more.
Age and overall health profile. Generally speaking, the older you are, the slower the healing process. A 26 year old female with acute carpal tunnel will probably need fewer treatments than a 56 year old female with the exact same symptoms and time of onset.
If someone is in poor health overall, it will require more care than someone who is in great health, in which case age can be somewhat irrelevant.
Genetics and lifestyle. Some people are born with very strong constitutions and a healthy genetic profile while others are more delicate and sensitive, falling out of balance more easily.
The quality of nutrition, level of physical activity, level of physical fitness, quality of sleep, mental attitude, beliefs about your condition and how well you adapt to stress will all influence healing response and healing time.
Level of commitment. Be clear about your level of willingness to do what is necessary to promote the healing process and increase the efficacy of acupuncture.
You might be asked to stop exercising for six weeks, or to stop eating certain foods for a few months.
In many cases your level of commitment, and willingness to make change, as well as willingness to experiment will influence how long it will take for your body to heal.
If you have pulled a muscle and it’s recommended you need a recovery period before resuming normal physical activities, ignoring that advice will probably delay healing. Yet, if you follow recommendations to stop activities which aggravate your condition, you will have a much faster rate of recovery.
Other factors to decide how much/ how often:
With regard to the treatment of pain, specifically muscle, tendon and ligament inflammation, my experience is that incorporating multiple healing modalities will shorten healing time.
(This is why I work in an office with chiropractors, physical therapists and even an MD).
In extreme cases of pain, a shot of cortisone will help reduce inflammation by a matter of degrees, thereby reducing the number of acupuncture visits needed and preventing the need for future drug intervention.
If you are in a rush to get better, you will benefit from getting acupuncture more frequently with your visits close together.
In fact, I usually find the closer together the visits, the fewer treatments needed overall. The total number of visits may be reduced by 15-20% when treatments are consistently close together.
For example: let’s say your condition requires 12 treatments in total to recover. You will heal faster by getting 2 treatments per week over 6 weeks than if you only had 3 treatments per month over 4 months.
If you have no obvious signs of imbalance or disease, should you get acupuncture?
Every person, regardless of health, should, at the very least, get four acupuncture treatments annually.
The high degree of environmental toxins and radiation alone are constant and unavoidable stressors impacting the health of your body on a cellular level.
We are exposed, to toxic chemicals in our food supply, in our water and in the air we breathe. Even more threatening is atmospheric radiation from cell phones, wifi, and nuclear reactor meltdowns.
The health of our bodies declines as the health of Mother Earth declines. Global warming is not only stressful to plants and animals, it’s also stressful on human beings.
Cancer rates are skyrocketing, autoimmune diseases are becoming the norm, lethal mutations of viruses and bacteria are wreaking havoc, and mental health issues are affecting more people in western society now more than ever before.
Because of the nature of the world, our environment, and the values of our culture, all of us have some level of inflammation which left unchecked can cause disease.
Acupuncture treatments are proven to reduce inflammation, to relax the nervous system, regulate neurotransmitters and balance hormones.
There are no adverse side effects, it is a totally natural and organic system for healing the body, and it is widely accessible.
I understand how acupuncture may be very low priority for people when they aren’t suffering, but it is precisely the small action steps you take every day which have a net positive impact on health.
If you have been putting of an acupuncture treatment or it has been low priority, make an appointment now.
I hear the voice inside your head:
but I don’t have the time
I don’t have the money.
I know for many many people the cost of acupuncture treatments is hard to justify when there isn’t a pressing issue. In reality I find many people are putting their money into material things which will rarely, if ever, make their lives better.
Just keep this in mind next time you say YES to a new outfit, because what you might be saying NO to is your health.
There is no more worthy investment than health.