While we celebrate it when it happens, acupuncture isn’t always a one-time experience and everything is healed. The number of sessions required varies from person to person. While people usually feel better after the first session, they usually need to experience 3-4 treatments to assess how well it works for them and what their treatment plan will look like. As the cumulative effects of acupuncture take hold, you start to move through the 3 Stages of Care for Acupuncture:
Stage 1: Acute Care
This stage focuses primarily on treating the chief complaint, i.e. the pain or illness that lowers the quality of life. During this stage, acupuncture care is usually 1-2 times per week, and I usually recommend a series of 3-6 treatments to start.
Stage 2: Helping the Body Rediscover Balance
In Eastern Medicine, it’s a life out-of-balance that causes pain and illness. Because it is holistic in nature, Eastern Medicine provides a context to diagnose and treat these imbalances. During this stage of acupuncture care, treatment sessions are usually every 1-2 weeks, and there is often an accompanying herbal formula.
Stage 3: Maintaining Balance
While we ideally strive for a life that creates its own balance, the stress of modern reality often challenges us, and it’s helpful to schedule regular acupuncture care ‘tune-ups’. These can range anywhere from once every 2-4 weeks, or even every change of seasons – ultimately this is an individual decision based upon your health status and stresses.
For example, as we enter into the Fall, it’s worthwhile to consider doing a whole body tune-up to strengthen our immune system and better prepare ourselves to absorb the bountiful yin energy of coolness, contemplation, and consolidation that comes with Winter, and this in turn gets us ready for the renewal of Spring.