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
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.
Mike Berkley, L.Ac., FABORM
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.
However, if the pain is due to a decrease in function of the Organs, it takes time to make the Organs normal.
Aleksandra Dianova, L.Ac.
Amy Gendron, AP
Alexandre Hillairet, DAOM.
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.
Glenn R. Williams, D.C., L.Ac.
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.
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
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.
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.
Dr. Maryam Mansouri, Lac., OMD.