How many acupuncture treatments will I need?

By Tona Marquez on Jul 03, 2015 at 01:40 PM in Santa Barbara Acupuncture

How to get result from acupuncture

Many acupuncture patients are concerned with length and cost of treatment. Patients want to know, "When am I going to get better?", "How much is this going to cost?" Knowing how the acupuncture process works can help patients answer those questions for themselves and take control of their acupuncture healing process.

When can I expect to see results with acupuncture?

It is fairly impossible to predict how quickly any one person's body will respone to acupuncture, but in my experience in treating thousands of patients I can offer the following insights. The greater majority of patients start feeling results after 1 to 3 treatments. This does not mean their symptoms are gone, only that those symptoms such as pain are less severe, more managable, they can sleep more restfully, their outlook is brighter, they are having more "good days" than before. These patients have a good response to acupuncture which suggests that with continued acupuncture treatment they will get better and better results.

If you don't start feeling results after 1 to 3 treatments don't worry. Be patient, sometimes you'll just need more treatments in order to accurately target your problem. Just like people are not all the same, pain, stress, and other symptoms can vary and it may just take more attempts to start getting relief.

Children, youth, and those in outstanding health with simple, acute problems can sometimes only require only 2 to 3 acupuncture treatments to resolve a problem. Typically most patients require longer courses of treatment divided into 3 stages - the 3 stages of acupuncture care.

The 3 Stages of Acupuncture Care (the healing process)

The first thing to take into account, when learning about your acupuncture healing process is getting to know the 3 Stages of Acupuncture Care.

  • Relief Stage
  • Healing Stage
  • Maintenance Stage

Treatment Stage Chart

All patients start at the Relief Stage. As the name implies, at this stage in the acupuncture healing process your acupuncture treatments provide you relief from your primary symptoms such as pain or discomfort, stress, tension, anxiety, depression, low energy or poor sleep. At the Relief Stage, patients receive acupuncture treatment 3 to 5 times a week in order to get symptoms under control so that patients have more "good days" then they did before. 

As patients respond to acupuncture and are getting consistant relief of symptoms with better sleep and mood, they transition naturally from the Relief Stage to the Healing Stage. Again as the name implies, at this stage in the acupuncture healing process your acupuncture treatments provide your body the framework to make self-corrections, adjustments, or repairs to the root cause of your symptoms. Patient receive acupuncture treatments 2 time per week during the Healing Stage.

Once patients are fairly symptom free they enter the Maintenance Stage. At this stage patients receive acupuncture treatment once a week or once every other week if they are pretty much symptom-free. These treatments allow the body to maintain good health, keep symptoms from comming back or catch them and quickly correct them if they do. These treatments further help patients manage stress, maintain productive sleep and keep a brighter outlook on life.

So how many acupuncture treatments am I going to need?

The number of treatments at each stage or the length of time spent at each stage depends on a number of factors.

  • The length of time you have had the problem
  • Whether or not you can avoid aggrevating the problem
  • Your overall level of health (The number of other health problems you have)
  • Your stress level, workload, responsibilities, and home environment
  • How well you respond to acupuncture 

You will make quicker progress if you stick to and follow your treatment plan, keeping your appointments and keeping an open mind. Keeping an open mind allows you to know when acupuncture is working. Here's a great article on How To Know When Acupuncure Is Working.

How I approach the acupuncture healing process

I am interested in getting you better as quickly as possible so that you can cut back on the frequency of your acupuncture treatments. I want you to get so much better that you can discountinue acupuncture treatment as quickly as possible. Any treatment plan I make for you is my suggestion. After a few acupuncture treatments, it is my hope that you can figure out what treatment plan or frequency of treatment will work best for you.

Finally, please understand there are some problems that may require ongoing acupuncture to provide you relief. These problems typically are those with structural changes to the body. Acupuncture often cannot correct these changes but can provide some relief. If your problem falls within this catagory I will be up front with you and let you know how much acupuncture can help you and the course of treatment that can provide you relief.

Oct 16, 2018 Arrow1 Down Reply
Susan Machona

I suffer from still dieseas, will l benefit from having acupuncture

May 15, 2019 Arrow1 Down Reply
Tona Marquez

If you are wondering weather or not acupuncture can help your condition the best advise I give patients is find an acupuncturist, make an appointment, get evaluated and follow through with the treatment program.

The wonderful thing about acupuncture is that many people find it provides benefit. The other wonderful thing about acupuncture is that the worst that can happen is nothing at all. But you must give acupuncture a chance to work so follow your acupuncturists treatment program and see how acupuncture helps you.

May 15, 2019 Arrow1 Down Reply
Tona Marquez

@Susan Machona: My best medical advise is to give acupuncture a try. See my comment below. Best wishes for better health!

May 24, 2019 Arrow1 Down Reply
MAUREEN

HAD A COURSE OF THREE ACUPUNCTURE TREATMENT TWO WEEKS AGO AND GOT ALOT OF RELIEF FROM IT HAVE ARTHRITIS IN MY KNEES ALSO TAKING HERBAL TABLETS THE CONSULTANT ADVISED I SHOULD TAKE, SHE ALSO GAVE ME A DIET SHEET OF THE FOOD I SHOULD EAT IT FOR BREAKFAST NO DAIRY NO MILK, YOGURT,BUTTER CHEESE, NO FRUIT- JUST FRUIT FOR LUNCH AND EVENING MEAL NO SALAD (RAW FOOD) NO FRUIT ONLY EAT FRUIT BETWEEN MEALS AS A SNACK. FINDING THIS DIET HARD TO KEEP TO WHAT DO YOU THINK .

Oct 12, 2019 Arrow1 Down Reply
Tona Marquez

Mostly I don't give strict dietary guidelines to my patients. If patients eat out frequently then I advise them to cook at home more frequently. If patient have an over consumption of sugar (sugary drinks, pastries, ice cream) I ask them to cut down and limit this consumption. I tell patients a diet that is low in fat or low in carbohydrates is adequate to maintain good health. Either choice means there is a larger focus on vegetables or both fruits and vegetables.

Keeping a diet simple with a few fresh ingredients is a great way to live.

Oct 12, 2019 Arrow1 Down Reply
Tona Marquez

@MAUREEN: Limiting dairy can be beneficial for many people. Eating cooked vegetables instead of salads can also be beneficial for many people. Many people find this changes can help improve their health. If you find it challenging to stick to this diet please consult with your practitioner to find out what modifications can be made so that it is easier to adhere to the diet changes.