How Many Sessions of Acupuncture Do You Need?Jan 09, 2024
How Many Sessions of Acupuncture Do You Need?
Are you dealing with chronic pain and tired of relying on painkillers to get through the day? Consider giving acupuncture a try. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine have been used for thousands of years as the main and only way to treat the body. In today's world, patients come to us to find relief from chronic and acute pain, hot flashes, insomnia, stress and anxiety, and digestive issues, and to improve their overall health and vitality.
But how many sessions of acupuncture do you need to see results? We get asked this all the time at both our clinics located in Greenville and Spartanburg, South Carolina. The answer to this question is not simple and depends on various factors. In this article, we’ll look at what affects the number of treatments you may need, what you can expect during your acupuncture sessions, and how to know when you’ve achieved optimal results.
What affects the number of treatments you may need? The number of acupuncture sessions you need will depend on several factors, including the severity and duration of your symptoms, the underlying condition causing it, and your individual response to treatment. So, as I mentioned... it depends. Generally, acute conditions require fewer treatments than chronic ones. For example, a muscle strain may require only a few sessions, while arthritis may need several months of regular treatments. Additionally, some people may notice improvement after just one or two sessions, while others may need to go through a series of treatments to see any effect. This is the exception though and not the rule. In my experience of over a decade of treating patients, I have had only a handful of patients who need one or two treatments for a condition. Most people I find who have found relief after just a few treatments will have that condition come back because the root cause of the issue was not fixed during that time. That is why in our Acupuncture clinic in Greenville South Carolina we offer a free 15-minute consultation. This allows us to get a basic overview of what is going on and can set realistic expectations on how often a patient will need to come in to achieve their health goals. We offer this in our Acupuncture clinic in Spartanburg, South Carolina as well.
A rate-of-response treatment plan is often suggested as that gives the practitioner a chance to see if the acupuncture treatments will be effective for the patient and allows the patient to see if they enjoy the acupuncture treatments and notice a change for themselves. Most of the time acupuncture is an effective treatment for many different conditions, including low back pain, Neck pain, painful periods, Chronic Stress and even fertility issues. On average 80-85% of patients will achieve their health goals when they stick to the recommended treatment plan.
Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine is a holistic medicine and works by helping your own body heal itself. This means unlike other methods like surgery or medication ( though that could be argued it is also not a one-time intervention) acupuncture is cumulative. Which means that each treatment builds on the next one. I once had it explained to me as a compounding interest. The more that you invest the bigger the return. We typically suggest twice a week for 4-8 weeks ( depending on the severity of the issue, before we reduce the frequency of visits. We are looking for a significant shift in symptoms, which typically happens during this time frame.
What to expect during acupuncture sessions? Acupuncture is done by inserting thin needles into specific points on the skin, called acupuncture points. These points correspond to different organs and channels of the body within Chinese medicine. The Channels are like rivers that flow through your body carrying what is called, QI. When the needles are inserted into the acupuncture points it stimulate the qi within the channels and creates communication between your body supporting your healing. From a Biomedical perspective, acupuncture has been shown to affect the central nervous system the precise mechanisms of how acupuncture impacts the CNS are still under investigation. However, the research available supports the notion that acupuncture can have significant effects on the CNS, contributing to its efficacy in treating a range of conditions. The needles are left in place for several minutes, and during this time, you may feel a mild tingling, warmth, or pressure sensation. Most pacients end up falling asleep on the table, it is so common in fact that our profession has coined the term Acunap to describe it. Our Greenville and Spartanburg Acupuncturist may also use other techniques, such as cupping, esteem or moxibustion, to enhance the effects of the treatment. Acupuncture is considered safe and has little to no side effects other than the feeling of bliss that you have after a session.
How to know when you’ve achieved optimal results? The benefits of acupuncture are often cumulative, meaning that the effects build up over time as I mentioned previously. Therefore, it’s important to stick with your treatment plan and attend all the recommended sessions so you can achieve your health goals. You may start noticing improvements after a few sessions, but optimal results may take several weeks or even months. Once you’ve achieved your treatment goals, your acupuncturist may suggest reducing the frequency of your visits or stopping them altogether. However, many people continue to get regular monthly acupuncture treatments as a preventative measure to maintain their health, and well-being and to support graceful aging.
How to make the most out of your acupuncture treatment? To get the most out of your acupuncture sessions, it’s recommended to choose a qualified and licensed acupuncturist who understands your individual needs and concerns. Not everyone who performs acupuncture is an acupuncturist. Many chiropractors can practice with as little as 100 hours! The practitioners at Carolina Family Acupuncture in Greenville and Spartanburg South Carolina have undergone a master's degree level of training (which is 4 years) and some have gone on to get their Doctorate! They are licensed in the State of South Carolina and Have accreditation through the NCCAOM. For those of you who are reading this outside of Upstate South Carolina, you can visit www.NCCAOM.org or if in California, https://www.acupuncture.ca.gov to find qualified acupuncturists who are in good standing.
How to support your health between sessions? You should also communicate openly with your acupuncturist about your symptoms and any changes you experience during treatment as this can change our treatment approach for the better. You can also support your acupuncture treatment by making healthy lifestyle choices, such as eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, and managing stress. In fact, many practitioners, the ones at Carolina Family Acupuncture as well, will give homework to patients to better support their healing process. Chinese herbal medicine as well, though this is a much bigger topic and will have its own blog post to discuss the benefits of Herbal medicine.
So to wrap this up, acupuncture is a safe and effective alternative therapy for managing pain and improving overall health. The number of sessions you may need will depend on your specific condition and response to treatment. By working closely with a qualified acupuncturist and making healthy lifestyle changes, you can achieve optimal results and reduce your reliance on painkillers. So, if you’re considering trying acupuncture, go ahead – your body will thank you for it! Click the link below to schedule your appointment.
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