Sunday, March 15, 2009

How often should I come for Acupuncture?

At Circle CA, we want you to experience maximum relief from your health complaints in the shortest amount of time possible. Often times, you will notice improvement in your condition after just the first or second visit; however, it is common for this to only be a temporary improvement. For acupuncture to have a lasting affect, it is best to receive it frequently and often enough for a cumulative improvement in your health.  

When you come in for your first treatment, your acupuncturist will speak to you about a treatment plan that is best for you. Below are some basic guidelines that apply to most conditions.

If your problem is new, for example back strain from recent overexertion, then you will experience the best benefit from multiple visits in a short period of time. You should receive two or three treatments in a week for a period of one or two weeks. By this time, your problem should be much better, and you and your practitioner can determine if further treatments are necessary.

If you have a long-term problem that you are addressing, then it is usually best to start with a round of treatments close together for a period of time and then slowly increase the amount of time between treatments. This is especially true if you are experiencing a recent flare-up of a chronic problem. For example, let’s say you are coming in for insomnia that you’ve experienced for many months or years, and that it has been very bad for one month. In this case it is best to come in two or three times a week until you notice a noticeable change in the insomnia – usually for two weeks or a month. Once the condition has started to improve to the point that you have better sleep most nights of the week, then the amount of time between treatments can be stretched to once a week. After that occasional maintenance visits should be enough to prevent further problems.

If you are seeking relief from uncontrollable events, such as job related stress or the common cold, then it is best to think of acupuncture as a tool to help you get through those periods. While acupuncture cannot change the fact that your job causes you stress, or that you sat next to someone with the flu on the bus, it can help alleviate the affects of these external pressures. During those times, come in once or twice a week, or as often as you need to alleviate the symptoms.

If you are relatively healthy, and would like to include acupuncture as a part of a preventative regimen, then feel free to come in once a week or every other week. If you listen to your body and pay attention to your emotional state, you will have a good understanding of when it is time to come in.

Please keep in mind that the above guidelines are only suggestions. If your schedule can only accommodate one visit per week, acupuncture can still be of benefit to you. Less frequent acupuncture is better than no acupuncture. If you are coming less often than the suggested guidelines, you will still receive benefits; however it may take longer before the results “stick” and you experience lasting benefit. If you are unable to come as frequently as suggested, please let your practitioner know, so that you may discuss a realistic timeline for treatment and assessing progress.

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