How many times will I need to see you until I’m back to new? Without fail, every patient asks this question at their initial acupuncture appointment. And, unfortunately, I’m never able to answer it definitively. That’s because everybody is different and every body is different.
I don’t blame the patient for asking at all. It’s the exact same question I posed at my very first acupuncture session. In our Western world things tend to have shorter timelines and quicker turnarounds. We see this especially with prescribed medications. It’s all well and good until those medications cause side effects which now require other drugs. And now those new drugs are triggering something else, so additional drugs are introduced into the mix. The cycle can go on and on…
In the Eastern world, it’s all about balance and harmony. That’s never more evident than in the taiji symbol itself. This simple yin/yang image is so powerful. Black represents yin with a white dot of yang inside (yang always present within yin). White represents yang with a black dot inside (yin always present within yang). There is a duality of yin and yang, yet each contains a part of the other. Yin is earth, yang is sun. Yin is female, yang is male. Yin is night, yang is day. Yin is quiet, yang is energetic. There is balance within everything in nature. One cannot exist without the other.
This theory translates into Chinese medicine itself. Acupuncture, among other practices including qi gong and tai chi, helps to maintain that exact balance within the body. We tonify the deficiency, release the excess. Warm the Cold, release the Heat. Balance the yin and the yang. Sometimes illnesses and imbalances within the body — especially those that have been chronic for years — take time. The age of the patient, his or her diet, lifestyle and basic constitution also play into it. Which brings us to the original question…How long do I need to come for acupuncture treatments until I’m better?
As I stated in the beginning, unfortunately there’s no magic number. Two different people with the exact same Western diagnosis may have two completely different acupuncture diagnoses, protocols and timetables. This is because everyone’s body and extenuating circumstances are unique.
As we know, Western medicine oftentimes can’t present a cure with just one visit to the doctor’s office or with a single pill. Usually, the body doesn’t slink into disease overnight, so it’s not reasonable to expect an overnight remedy. In Chinese medicine, it takes time for the body to naturally get back to where it needs to be. The best way to liken acupuncture is to consider a car getting stuck in a ditch. A single push may not get the car onto firm ground, but can start things moving. Enough pushes, though, allows for momentum so the car moves out of the ditch and back onto the road. Similarly so, each acupuncture visit builds onto the next (just like those pushes) to get you back to health.
Although not specific, I can, however, give a very general estimate: acute issues usually require 3-5 treatments, while chronic illnesses may involve 5-15 treatments. Once bodies are back in balance, some patients like to continue treatments on an upkeep basis — some come for monthly ‘tune-ups’, others for seasonal treatments, and yet others once a year. It all depends on that unique individual.
If you’re experiencing an illness, or simply want to get back in balance, acupuncture is effective, painless, non-invasive medicine. Consultations are complimentary and all questions are important…especially that golden-age, magical one: how many is enough?
To book with Katie, call us at (843) 416-8218 or email us here