HOW MUCH ACUPUNCTURE SHOULD YOU RECEIVE?
A question that comes up a lot - and creates a lot of resistance - is how much acupuncture should one person receive?
Unfortunately for our western minds, there is no clear cut answer.
Typically in China, a course of treatment is 10 days in a row. After the course of treatment, the patient waits three days and then comes back in for a reassessment. The treatments often include herbs and any other body work needed (e,g. Cupping, guasha, Qigong). People tend to heal a lot more quickly with this style of treatment.
Why so much back to back?
Acupuncture, in itself, increases Qi and blood circulation and decreases inflammation. The closer the treatments are to each other, the more the Qi and blood are circulating properly. When this occurs, the body is able to heal more quickly and stay in a healthier place overall. There is also an occurrence with the inflammation. The inflammatory response is designed to “protect” the body, so until the body’s response is reset, the inflammation will keep rising back up to each person's "set point." The closer the treatments are to each other, the more that inflammation is able to stay down. and after a time the body will reset to a healthier norm.
Americans tend to have A LOT of systemic inflammation. We grew up eating processed foods, GMO foods and hidden inflammatory foods, all of which create systemic inflammation in the body. We also tend to have too much stress, don’t sleep well, and either exercise too much or not enough. Add to this the hidden toxins in our environment and we’ve created the perfect storm of hidden and not hidden inflammation in the body.
So, how much acupuncture should you get?
The more the inflammation, the more acupuncture is needed. Again, while there's no hard and fast rule, most people need to get acupuncture 2-3 times a week for serious pain issues for 3-4 weeks, or until we’ve seen 85-90% relief of the symptoms. After that most people are ready to wean down to once a week until the issue is resolved. The “safe” way I treat people is once a week until the pain has been gone for over a week. After that I like to start weaning them down…No pain for a week, we schedule the next treatment two weeks out. At the next treatment, if there isn’t a flare up of the pain, we schedule the following treatment three weeks out. At the next treatment (after three weeks), if there is no flare up, then I always suggest coming for a once a month “maintenance” treatment.
Internal medicine issues tend to be more complex and usually need more time devoted to treatment. When the health issue is more severe, I usually recommend 2-3 times a week for one to six months, depending on the how much discomfort one is experiencing, how long they’ve had the issue, and their general constitution. While I said, there is no hard and fast rule, some people heal more quickly, others more slowly. Herbs, diet changes, stress management also decrease the amount of acupuncture treatments people need. It’s up to each individual to really check in what is best for them.
For most internal medicine issues, acupuncture once a week just isn’t enough. Most people have too much inflammation in their bodies and seven days gives it the chance to keep rising back up to that person's “set point.” It’s okay to try to see if once a week is enough, but don’t be discouraged if you don’t see the results in the timeline you want. It comes down to “how much do you want to invest in your health and wellness?” There’s no right or wrong - each person gets to feel out what feels best to them.
I do love helping people on the healing and wellness path and I look forward to working with you when the time is right.
In vibrant health,