Acupuncturist Questions Acupuncture

Is acupuncture a long-term treatment?

Does acupuncture require long-term treatment or is it possible to be a short-term treatment?

44 Answers

Depending on a problem usually 4 treatments per year of problem
And it is when managed as needed
It can be used either way but is best used as a way to maintain the body just like we get the oil changed in our cars to prevent future problems.
It can be either. Usually long term treatment (a few months, and monthly or biweekly maintenance treatments) are what works best, but not required.

If you decide to try acupuncture, make sure you start with a fully trained acupuncturist (not an MD or Chiropractor that did minimal hours of training to get a license).
The length of treatment in acupuncture depends on several factors. Generally speaking, an acute problem can be fixed sooner than a chronic one. It also has to do with the person's commitment to the treatments and his/her life-style.
It depends what we are treating. For acute problems things can usually be resolved in short time. But with chronic issues it might take a longer course of care. Also its always good to get a tune up periodically
It can help in the short-term, some people need only a handful of treatments, but for most people the results last longer with maintenance (i.e. once a month)
The answer to this question depends upon several factors, including what treatment goals you have, how long you have had the problem you want to fix, and how well you respond to treatment. There are certainly more factors to consider as well such as treatment protocols, frequency, and duration. These are factors along with accurate diagnosis which are dependent more upon the doctor's skill than the circumstances of the case, however, both are important. For instance, you may have an early stage sore throat or other cold and flu symptoms. Something like this might only need a couple of visits to treat, if we catch it before it gets worse. On the other hand, congenital defects that have been a problem since birth may take more effort to treat and probably will never completely improve. In cases such as these, acupuncture and Chinese medicine can still greatly improve quality of life and ensure better health outcomes, even if that means regular treatments for life.
It depends on what is going on. I generally tell new patients to expect at least 5-6 weekly treatments. Then we will begin to space things out. We may even space them out sooner. Everyone responds differently. My goal is always to give my patients enough tools to look after themselves so that they are coming to see me seasonally or when something big hits. That being said, I do have some that need monthly support and if it's an acute issue, a treatment or two may resolve it. Everyone is individual.
Depends on the condition to be treated and the overall health of the patient. Treatment is often short-term for recent musculoskeletal injuries. Chronic, longstanding pain can take awhile to treat, especially if the patient's health is compromised.
Acupuncture can be a short-term treatment or a long-term treatment. There are many variables. With acupuncture, it depends on what we are treating, what your body has gone through, how in-tune you are to your body, and how healthy you are. For instants, one may recover quicker from Acupuncture with back pain because he or she stays healthy by eating healthy, exercising daily, and has began acupuncture treatment as soon as they notice their back pain whereas one may take longer to recover from back pain because he or she does not eat healthy, exercise every so often, and has neglected their back pain for awhile. At Eastern Medical Center here in Pleasanton, Ca, we take the time with our patients to really understand what is going on and to know what is happening with your body by asking the right questions and by locating abnormal muscles through touch.
Not necessarily. It all depends on the underlying cause.
It depends on the conditions. Acute conditions (common cold, stomach flu, sprain back, sprain ankle, etc.) may need 4-8 treatments. Chronic conditions (asthma, lower back pain, arthritis, menopause, etc.) may need long-term treatment.
Depending on what the problem is, it could be a long or it could be short.
That's a difficult question to answer as it depends on so many variables.

Having said that, I have very few patients who NEED to come in week after week, month after month (the ones who do do so mostly for job stress because they feel so much better after treatments and it keeps them healthy). But for everybody else, healing a physical or emotional problem can generally be accomplished in a matter of weeks, or sometimes months if it's a problem they've had for a very long time. If it's, say, a recent injury, healing can happen in a few weeks.

Another factor is age - younger people heal faster than older people, and children heal at the speed of light. A third variable is the number and kinds of medications people are taking. I have much faster results with folks who are not on many pharmaceutical drugs.

I'm sorry I couldn't give a more definitive answer, but I hope this helps.

You have a great question. My answer is, it depends. It depends on what issue you are working with acupuncture, or how long you have had this issue. Some might need longer care than others.
Hope you understand.


Huan Wen Jonathan Fang
Depends on your condition. Acute disease needs a short-term treatment, and chronic disease needs more treatments.
If the illness/condition is chronic, yes.
It depends on the disease.
Thank you for your question.

It depends; for acute or conditions with recent onset, it may only take a few treatments. For people with multiple chronic and debilitating conditions, it can be long-term.

Best regards,

Dr. Florida
It depends on the severity of what is being treated and how long the issue has been manifest.

Mike Berkley, L.Ac., FABORM
It depends. Generally speaking, if the problem is new with a short history, such as muscle sprain, it only needs a couple of treatments. If the problem is chronic, it will need a longer period of treatment for complete recovery.

Changhong Zhou
Acupuncture can be long-term or short-term on an as-needed basis depending on your condition. Most of my patients come to see me on a regular basis to maintain a good health.
The length of time needed for acupuncture is dependent upon the condition and the patient's compliance with treatment. Typically, the longer a condition has been in existence, the longer it takes to resolve. The resolution of a condition, however, does not mean one must stop acupuncture. I find several patients continue to work with other conditions or use acupuncture prophylactically (to prevent future conditions, injuries, etc.).
Thank you for your inquiry.

A lot of times, people come to acupuncture for an injury or health condition that is chronic or acute, and they want a safe, natural approach to healing. It is my experience that people feel so good after they start receiving acupuncture that even when nothing is "wrong," they schedule monthly wellness visits to continue their care.


Depends on your condition. For pain management, it is short-term. For people who have chronic problems, it may be long-term.
Common pain is healed within a short period of time. For example, muscle twitching when twisted, squeezed, or injured during exercise.
However, if the pain is due to a decrease in function of the Organs, it takes time to make the Organs normal.
It depends on what the treatment is for. But generally, you need multiple treatments for acute disorders and long-term maintenance for chronic conditions.

Warm regards,

Aleksandra Dianova, L.Ac.
Yes, it is typically a lifestyle that is adopted, like healthy eating and exercise. That being said, results are immediate. Most patients report immediate improvements bed mood, digestion, sleep, energy, and pain reduction.


Amy Gendron, AP
It can be either. Depends on the condition(s).

In my clinical experience, acute conditions (less than a month) can be treated successfully within a short time. For chronic conditions (more than a month), it is more complicated and it is possible to have positive results quickly but it all depends on the condition being treated and the patient. In medicine, it takes about 6 weeks, with the appropriate treatment, to improve or recover from a condition so I am using the same timeline in my practice.

Alexandre Hillairet, DAOM.
It may be short or long depending upon a number of factors such as age, nutrition, length of time with the issue, etc. Many are one or two treatments depending upon the above factors. Pain issue may be relieved immediately in some cases.

Dr. Robin

It depends on what we are treating. Acute symptoms usually resolve themselves quickly. Chronic symptoms need more time and consistency. There will also be some suggested Therapeutic exercise and also life style changes suggested. Acupuncture is a type of medicine that balances your body back out.
Yes and no. It needs long-term treatment for chronic problems.
It can be either/or, depending on the condition. Generally, long-term is more for chronic conditions and short-term for acute conditions.

Glenn R. Williams, D.C., L.Ac.
It depends on what is meant by "long-term" and "short-term".

In almost all studies that examine the aspect of number of treatments we see acupuncture has a "dose dependency". Basically, to a point, more treatments usually yields a superior result in terms of patient outcome.

A lot depends on what we're treating and how long the patient has been experiencing the issue/condition. More chronic conditions are more deeply entrenched in the system and can require more treatments to resolve.

Hard numbers are hard to come by, but the human body has remarkable powers of compensation. Any given system has to break down by 50%, or more in many cases, before a patient will experience a symptom and seek treatment. To the extent possible, Chinese medicine is attempting to roll back this damage to relieve the symptom. It may have taken years to bring a patient to the point they're seeking treatment, this is usually not going to be undone in a single treatment.

A rough benchmark is: if you're not seeing any change in your condition after 3-5 treatments you should probably have a discussion with your provider about whether or not it's worthwhile to continue treatment. Most of us are pretty good about estimating the required number of treatments, so have that conversation up-front.
Acupuncture can be a long-term or short-term treatment. It depends on your symptoms. In general, you would need to do acupuncture for at least 1 to 2 section(s)(3 to 6 times per section) first, before you see the results. Please check<> and or<> for more information.
Thank you for your question.

The short answer is YES. It is often a long-term commitment to your health. More times than not, people are searching for help for long-term problems they have been experiencing. In my practice, I tend to see very complicated cases. Occasionally, I will get someone with an acute injury or a sore neck, back, or cold. Most of these acute conditions can be helped with 2 or a few treatments.

The more recent and acute the condition, the easier it is to resolve. If you have had an issue going on for weeks, months or years, you need long-term treatments. Remember, it did not become this way overnight; therefore, it takes time for your body to find the balance within once again.

Hope this helps.

Andrew Pacholyk, MS, L.Ac
It depends on the condition. Sometimes only a few treatments are sufficient.
There is not a short answer to the question of length of treatment. There are many variables such as the reason for treatment, the age of the patient, etc. A young patient may just have a need for one treatment while someone older may need more treatments. Diet recommendations are made, so of course, the length of treatment will depend on how the patient follows the recommendations. Acupuncture brings the body into balance to enable it to heal itself. Sometimes there are other issues that the body tends to first.

Many of our patients come in once a month because they have found that they function much better. Some come in at season change because the weather has a definite impact on our bodies and how we feel. When treatment first begins, it is recommended that the patient come in once or twice a week for one or two weeks; then they are moved to once weekly and continue to lengthen the time as they heal and start to feel better. It is ultimately up to the patient.
I think what your question is asking me is "do you need acupuncture for a long time to treat an issue or not?" The answer varies with the types of conditions and the individual person. I have had patients who were treated once and had a life-time result and I have had patients that I needed to see twice a week for a few months to treat the issue completely.

What is important to understand is Acupuncture is a part of Chinese Medicine and so it is a medical modality and with that one can understand that medicine treats conditions but we come up with different issues almost every day in our life. So, yes, it can be long term treatment for "a single condition" or it can take a few treatments for "a single condition"

It is also a preventative medicine that helps someone stay healthy long term - so should also be used as a maintenance treatment throughout ones life. It can also be used for a variety of issues that come up i.e maybe you initially came in for "insomnia" but then got the flu - the initial treatments could have helped the insomnia, but now you would need a different treatment for the flu. The insomnia may return if you experience an extreme stress in your life and the flu could come back annually. So, here the answer is vague because the conditions of health constantly change.

So, again, it depends on the condition, the patient and how life unfolds.

Depending on the condition, acupuncture can be short-term or long-term.
Acupuncture works with the energy of the body. During our lifetime patterns of energy movement are established. At times areas of our bodies develop unhealthy patterns. Acupuncture assists our body by making changes in those unhealthy patterns and supporting a healthy flow of energy. At first the treatments will be close together but then, as the body begins to hold onto to the new way of being, the treatments become farther and farther apart. Once the conditions, such as pain or anxiety, are managed I recommend maintenance/wellness treatments every 4 to 6 weeks
It depends on the condition. As a simple rule, the shorter you had the condition, the fewer visits you need. Also, the age of the patient is a factor. Younger people will need fewer visits to get results.

Dr. Maryam Mansouri, Lac., OMD.