More than 3 million people receive acupuncture or multiple acupuncture treatments each year, according to the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Many of these patients are for the most part healthy but experience conditions like low back pain, migraines, allergies etc. or that have medical conditions associated with overwork or aging.
What Are Patient Reasons For Appointments?
- Acupuncture as an experience
- Achieve fast relief for an ailment and speed the process of healing
- Ongoing treatment approach for an acute or chronic condition
- maintenance of a chronic issue that has already been resolved
Every person will have a different reason for choosing acupuncture and every patient will have a different response to the treatment – especially in the earliest phases of the treatment process. Some patients feel better with the first treatment while others require multiple acupuncture treatments before they sense improvement. Most patients enjoy slow and steady progress but a few get better in leaps and bounds. Acupuncture will promote healing at different rates from one person to the next. While some people find relief in a single session (most do not), you will likely need multiple acupuncture treatments to resolve your problem. Once resolved or well under control, maintenance is usually determined by your symptoms. As long as you feel well treatment is not necessary but we encourage patients to return for follow up treatment or maintenance quickly when and if symptoms return.
Why Is Maintenance Required?
The body is a lot like a car and it is a metaphor I use frequently to explain why the body needs routine care. Every 3,000 miles an oil change is required, tires need to be rotated, fluids checked and replaced, wipers replaced, etc. The body requires care in the same fashion. Eating health produces better health, exercising improves health, and Acupuncture used routinely will increase overall health. Studies on exactly how this occurs is ongoing but current research indicates increases in adenosine (which modulates the effect of pain), nitric oxide (increases blood flow and oxygen in the area) and releases endorphins to reduce pain and improve mood and well being. These are just a few of the ways acupuncture works that science has been able to identify.
Phases Of Treatment
It’s important to know how acupuncture works and how your healing will take place. These are the core phases to acupuncture treatment:
- Treatment always begins with a comprehensive evaluation to determine the root cause of your discomfort.
- Once the root cause is determined safe and effective acupuncture treatments address the root cause to help you feel better instead of just treating symptoms. Relieving the symptoms at hand is always the primary goal of every acupuncture session because that is where you are feeling the most discomfort. However, the underlying root cause is always being addressed simultaneously so you experience long term relief as well as short term.
- The final step is to build resilience. Acupuncture helps strengthen the affected area to decrease the risk of reoccurrence. Strength building also reduces the frequency of pain. With time, you can reduce the frequency treatment and only come in for ‘tune-ups’ when needed.
Why Multiple Acupuncture Treatments May Be Necessary
A single acupuncture session can provide immediate relief for some types of ailments. Sometimes symptoms return within a day or two of treatment. This is a sign that you need multiple acupuncture treatments. Continuous treatment keeps symptoms under control and creates a healing momentum to keep your recovery process moving in a positive direction. Repeated acupuncture sessions at appropriate intervals reduce relapses and help you feel better for longer. For best results, you may need to continue treatment for a short time even after your symptoms have eased to prevent re-injury. Just because your pain is gone does not mean the root cause has been resolved or that your resiliency has returned. We watch this closely by spacing out appointments further and further until we feel the root has been resolved. Continued treatment helps your body complete the healing process and strengthen the affected area to prevent the original problem from coming back.
Acupuncture treatments are a little like going to the gym in that you would like the results to be instant and dramatic. No one goes to the gym, does one push-up, and is then in shape. No one questions the need for regular exercise as a requirement for staying healthy. If you do not see immediate results, you may be tempted to quit. But, like going to the gym, you know that long-lasting and meaningful results take time and commitment. There are solutions to every health issues. Just like the condition didn’t start overnight, it can not be resolved overnight either.