How many treatments do I need

How many acupuncture sessions do I need?

Sharon Anxiety, Chinese Medicine, Digestion

In Chinese medicine we have an ancient, seminal text that has been peer-reviewed over a couple of millennia. Pretty powerful stuff! Thank fully we can still use the information in that text, known as The Yellow Emporer’s Internal Medicine. Part of the text focuses on The Emperor’s Plan, which in it’s basic form is a modern day treatment plan.

The plan is put in place by the Emperor’s doctor, Huang Di, to resolve any acute issues that may crop up for the Emperor along with a plan for increasing his longevity and maintain good health. The whole point of the wellness plan was to ensure the Emperor lived a long and healthy life, passing naturally and free from debilitating illness.

We should all have an Emperor’s Plan, but most of us don’t.

Why should I have an Emperor’s Plan?

When you come in due to health concerns, this is your opportunity to get a “Plan” and usually that’s what I create for you – a plan to get you better, maintain your wellness and work towards being free from debilitating illness.

I perceive debilitating illness as being one of the eight chronic illnesses the Australian government considers a burden on our health - including arthritis, asthma, heart disease, diabetes, mental illness, back pain, lung disease and cancer. You don’t want any of that. Not now, and not when you’re older.

Your plan will include how many treatments you will need over what timeframe, and then a plan for maintaining your wellness. Along the way on your healing journey, I’ll also provide opportunities for you to increase your health status and therefore the quality of your health.

But first, let’s look at the stages of healing in your acupuncture journey.

First stage – relief

When you first come in for help, it is likely that you aren’t thinking long term – you simply want which ever health challenge you’re going through to stop. You want to sleep well and have a good quality life. You want to do things and not feel as though you aren’t living your best life.

This stage of your care is symptom relief. The goal is to ensure a large reduction in the symptoms that are bothering you, through using acupuncture and herbs.

How long does the first stage take?

I generally allow around four weeks here, with two to three treatments per week. This time frame can vary depending on your age, how long you have had the symptoms for, how severe your symptoms are, the quality of your diet and how well your body responds to acupuncture.

Acupuncture and the care I provide are cumulative, so don’t miss these appointments – we want the good gains you get to stick.

Also be careful to keep your good healing habits up – sometimes you can start feeling go good you forget how you felt – and undo your good work.

Second stage – repair

Whilst symptom relief is the goal for most people, my goal for you is to repair the underlying reason why you are unwell. It’s pretty common at this point for most people to want to stop acupuncture, as they are feeling better.

But this is precisely when you shouldn’t take your foot off the pedal, because it is important to rectify the underlying problems. For example, we can stop your reflux pretty quickly with acupuncture and herbs – but if you don’t continue care and fix the underlying problem, your reflux will come back pretty soon after you stop acupuncture and herbs.

Usually the second stage of your plan, the repair stage, takes around 2 – 3 months. Again, it depens on you and your health before we started.

You mean, it will take longer than one vist?!

The first and second stages of your plan generally take around 3 months. This is a bit of a shock for most people, however consider that it took you quite a while to get to your current state of health, and one treatment isn’t going to fix it. Another thing I hear is the complaint that “I can’t possibly afford that or come in that many times”. I get it; I’m a working mum too.

The truth is that you can put your health as a priority if you choose to. Remember that if your health challenges continue, likely you will end up with one of the eight chronic diseases I mentioned above. I promise your health will become a priority then, but the damage will have been done and you will have to live with the burden of chronic illness.

In terms of cost, your treatment will be the cost of a few coffees per week over the year, and in the grand scheme of things, putting yourself and your healing as a priority for around 3 months will be but a memory this time next year. Especially when you’re feeling much better!

Third stage – maintenance

I always recommend maintenance care treatments. It is an opportunity to touch base with me, nip any issues in the bud quickly, and use your acupuncture session as part of your regular self-care routine. Timing varies, depends on you and your body – but I recommend monthly for best results, or 4 times per year at the change of each season.

The investment in your health care maintenance means that all your good work in healing does not come undone…and if you are starting to unravel, we can quickly fix it.

In the end, my treatment “plan” for you differs to other acupuncturists you may have tried. I don’t do booty calls (no, you can’t come in just to “try” acupuncture!) and I can’t fix your health challenges in one treatment. And it is a rare occasion that I will tell you at the end of a session to just see how you go and call me when you need to come in.

I’m serious about helping you to get better, and if I provide you with an Emperor’s Plan you choose to go ahead with, it is based on my experience on what works.