One of the most important things to know about acupuncture is that it works very well — but you must get the “proper dosage.” Sometimes people say they want to try acupuncture, and I think that’s a great open-minded attitude for beginning treatment. It’s also important to understand that results are not necessarily immediate so you have to make the commitment to follow through.
As a natural medicine, acupuncture is gentle. It works by retraining your mind and body over time. Here are the stages of healing in my clinic:
The acute stage is when you feel so bad that you are seeking help. Your symptoms are interfering with your life, and don’t seem to be going away on their own.
That’s when you make the call to come see me. We begin with an initial consultation. I will evaluate your case and help you understand what to expect based on your individual symptoms and history.
If you are not a good candidate for acupuncture, I will tell you now. But for everyone who is recommended for treatment, I will suggest a minimum of 5 treatments as a foundation. These treatments will be once or twice a week.
For some, these first 5 treatments will resolve symptoms entirely. Others will understand they need to continue to reach their goal. By now, we’ll both know how long it will take. Each person is an individual, with a unique course of healing. The good news is, you’ll know it’s working and each treatment will bring you closer to feeling your best.
A small number of patients will learn during these first 5 treatments that acupuncture is not going to work for their condition. This may be the case for advanced disease or structural injury. Even though this outcome is not ideal, it’s valuable if you are considering more invasive treatment such as surgery, but want to make a good effort with natural medicine first.
This is the phase when your symptoms have mostly gone away. This is what you were waiting for, right? You feel better! However it’s important not to quit now, because at this stage it’s very easy for symptoms to come back without continued maintenance. It’s similar to when your doctor tells you not to stop your antibiotics just because you feel better. You have to finish the prescribed course of treatment.
During this stage, you can come less often. Typically this will be once or twice a month. Even though you already feel good, you will continue to see benefits for your wellbeing, with less stress and overall better functioning of your body.
Once you have completed the maintenance stage of your treatment, this is when you can go to occasional treatment for wellness. This will help you stay resilient in the face of daily life: stresses, life changes, cold and flu, and the many other things that life may throw at you.
Now that we have worked together, you have a wonderful resource of healing available to you. It will be much quicker to resolve future symptoms if they appear, because I am familiar with you as a patient and I know how you tend to go out of balance. And hopefully you come see me early on, before symptoms get serious.
Some people first come to me in the wellness stage. You don’t have to be sick to benefit from acupuncture. I treat many people who feel good but want to maintain their wellbeing for the long term and appreciate the benefits for body, mind and spirit.
This is the essence of wellness, being proactive about your health. Acupuncture is a medicine that you can now call upon for the rest of your life. Welcome to the wonderful world of natural medicine!