New and prospective patients will often ask how many sessions of acupuncture they will need. I wanted to share my experiences with you (both as a practitioner and a patient) so that you can feel empowered in your own journey. Good luck.
Hidden behind the question may be issues such as :-
- can you help me?
- when can I expect to be normal?
- how much will it cost me?
- do you have appointment times that fit in with my life?
It may come as a shock, but real life doesn’t always have simple answers. Your friendly acupuncturist will try his/her best to advise you and this usually becomes easier with increasing experience. The number of sessions you need may vary according to
- your age
- whether or not you are still aggravating the problem
- the nature, severity and duration of your condition
- your general fitness
- how well you respond to acupuncture
- how experienced the acupuncturist is in treating your condition
Although difficult to predict there are guidelines that can be used to give a rough idea of what will is needed
- Attending a consultation session will give you a chance to meet your acupuncturist and share your story. He/she will then be able to provide some more answers and perspectives and discuss a treatment plan with you
- For a rough rule of thumb look at how long you have had the complaint. For years it will take months to resolve, for months it will take weeks. Not exact but a guide nonetheless.
- Cheapest isn’t always the best. An inexperienced practitioner may be able to treat the same conditions as an experienced one, but the latter may be able to achieve it in a shorter timescale
- Few conditions are resolved in one session. Your acupuncturist will carefully monitor progress to ensure that you are responding to treatment.
- Most people start to feel signs of progress after 1 to 3 sessions. Typical early indicators of progress include a greater sense of wellbeing, improvements to sleeping patterns and increased energy levels. True healing starts from the inside.
Acupuncture treatment usually follows three distinct phases
- Initial intensive treatment (usually once or twice a week) where symptoms begin to ease
- Consolidation phase. Dealing with the root causes of your condition and ensuring that your body is able to make repairs. Decreasing frequency of visits until condition is minimised or resolved
- Maintenance (as required) to prevent symptoms from coming back or to nip problems in the bud (eg sleeping issues, stress)
Traditional acupuncture has a strong emphasis on seeing, touching and listening. Techniques for uncovering problems before they become more serious have a very long history. In my own practice maintenance patients will usually come back either monthly or at the change of the seasons.
It is also helpful to ask friends and family who have received acupuncture. People seek treatment for a variety of reasons and many come a long way in a short space of time. Here is a range of observations from my own practice.
- So much better. I can honestly say that I have felt so much better with acupuncture than without, to this day I always wonder how I managed before treatment. Susan
- I was at my wits ends and was ready to give up! I had never tried it before and so thought I would try my chances. For anyone in doubt I would say go and try it you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. I never ever thought I’d work again! Kelli
- I contacted Martin for some treatment on my lower back problems. From my initial contact Martin explained everything. Mr Austin
- We chose Martin because he was close at hand and was very welcoming and approachable with my illness. Mr Plotka
Martin Dean is an acupuncturist with a practice in Nottingham, England. He qualified in 1995 and has over 10 years experience of teaching the subject at degree level. He specialises in treating couples with fertility issues and has attracted patients from as far afield as the Republic of Ireland and Morocco.
And finally; the underlying message is pick up the phone and talk to a registered acupuncturist. Satisfy yourself that they have enough experience in treating your condition and book a visit. On the basis of this visit negotiate a treatment plan (and be patient). Once again, good luck.
[A long way in a short space of time]