6 Tips to Make Acupuncture Work for You
You are coming to acupuncture for relief. You want to feel better, like your energetic, happy self. I want you to feel that way too! (Eastern medicine was not my get-rich-quick scheme 😉 ).
There are some key ways you can help our team effort to get you back to optimal health and wellness.
1. Patience pays off.
Chinese medicine is not a band-aid, like ibuprofen or antihistamines that manage symptoms. It is designed to rebalance your entire system and promote healing from deep within. I seek to cure the root of your problem, in addition to managing your symptoms, so your symptoms go away and you get lasting relief.
This does not happen in one treatment. This often does not happen in 3 treatments. Most conditions need a MINIMUM of 3 sessions to see improvement, and any condition you have been experiencing for more than a week or two will likely need 5-10 sessions to see improvement.
There are very few medical interventions that work after 1 or 2 sessions or only require treatment every few weeks. Massage, chiropractic, physical therapy, psychotherapy, yoga, pharmaceuticals… these all require frequent visits or daily practice/usage.
Chinese medicine, while perhaps the most exotic sounding, is no different. The rare problems that can be solved with a one-time intervention (like surgery for a torn ligament), still involve weeks of recovery, side effects, expense, and risk.
2. Once is not enough.
You might not feel any different right away. If you don’t feel anything after your first treatment, this doesn’t mean it isn’t working. Don’t give up! You don’t look perfectly toned after one workout, and your skinny jeans don’t fit after one healthy meal, but that doesn’t mean those weren’t choices that promoted your health overall.
Chinese medicine is the same way. Things are happening internally. We have activated many different systems to start working better: circulatory, nervous, hormonal, endocrine, inflammatory, immune. Trust me, your money was not wasted if you feel the same as when you walked in—although I always strive to send you home feeling better than when you walked into my office. You don’t need to take my word for it, there is research to support this.
3. Consistency is key.
Each treatment builds on the last and the momentum created is what helps keep your body in a state of restoration and repair. If you wait too long between treatments, especially in the beginning, you go right back to where you started. If you cannot afford to come as frequently as I have recommended, please let me know so we can work out a solution.
An example of a failed treatment plan:
You come in for anxiety. It is at a 7/10 (10 is panic-level). After your treatment, your anxiety is down to a 5/10, and this lasts for about 3 days before it goes back to a 7/10. You come in the next week or 10 days later, with your anxiety at a 7/10 again, and the cycle repeats. Maybe you get down to a 4/10, but it doesn’t stick. Your anxiety does not improve in the long run very much and you feel acupuncture didn’t work for you.
The mistake: You need to come back in on day 3. Otherwise, each time you come in, we are starting from square one.
An example of a successful treatment plan:
You come in for anxiety. It is a 7/10. After your treatment, anxiety is down to a 5/10. You come back 3 days later while your anxiety is still at a 5/10. After your second treatment, your anxiety drops to 4/10. You come back 5-6 days later. Your anxiety level is still hovering around a 4-5/10, but hasn’t gone back up to a 7. After your third treatment, your anxiety is down to a 3/10 and lasts for a full week at this level. You feel your anxiety is manageable at this level and you continue with weekly or monthly acupuncture for maintenance. We made acupuncture work for you.
4. Trust in the process.
It can be hard to decide to spend money on something totally new when there aren’t quick, observable results. I occasionally work some acu-magic, but in most cases, I am not going to be able to relieve your lifetime of asthma/migraines/low back pain/IBS in 1 or 2 sessions.
For acute conditions like an injury, this is rarely an issue, as it will respond within 3 treatments. For more chronic conditions, I encourage you to pay attention to subtle changes. Maybe you’re sleeping better, feeling less bloated, have more energy during the day, or feel better able to deal with stress at work. Sleeping better might mean you only woke up once a night the last week instead of twice.
These are real changes which may happen more quickly than your allergy symptoms or PMS disappearing. Acupuncture is deep, and profound when you stick with it. I will always be honest and let you know if I don’t feel like acupuncture will work for you or you are not making good progress, and refer you to someone who will be better able to help you.
5. Commit to healthy habits.
I will give you suggestions for things you can do to speed your results. There are ALWAYS things you can do to maximize the effectiveness of your treatments and feel better quicker. If you commit to:
- Following my diet and lifestyle recommendations
- Coming in for follow-ups at recommended intervals, and
- Taking suggested herbs and supplements, you can turn a 10-session condition into a 5-session condition. This saves you money and time and empowers you to take back control of your health!
6. Be hopeful!
Eastern and functional medicine often succeed where standard Western medicine has failed. You may feel like you’ve tried everything and will try anything, and that is how you ended up in my office. Maybe you are trying acupuncture before you do anything drastic like surgery or long-term medication.
You have every reason to feel hopeful and positive about getting good results. I have tremendous confidence in what I do. I see the powerful effects daily! Getting on board mentally will help your healing process. Hope and a positive outlook greatly reduce obstacles to healing. You don’t need to “believe in” acupuncture for it to work, but believing in your own ability to heal is crucial to making it a reality.