How Many Acupuncture Treatments?

"How many acupuncture treatments do I need to get relief from my pain and stress or illness?" 

We get this question often.  As a patient, you have a proper interest in getting this question answered.  Acupuncture works differently from conventional allopathic medicine so let's review that so you can understand why we make acupuncture affordable at our clinic.

How conventional medicine works

Western medical treatments consist primarily of drugs and surgery.  Almost all prescription drugs are chemicals that do not occur in nature or in your body.  They are designed by chemists to interfere with one or more natural processes in your body. 

For example, when you injure yourself, your body responds with an immune and inflammation response in the injured tissue, which causes some swelling, heat, and pain in the tissue. 

The pain has the purpose of making you cautious about touching or moving the injured part, so that no further damage occurs while the inflammatory immune response sets about clearing out the damaged tissue and repairing the area. 

Pain killers remove the pain sensation, which may result in your ignoring the need to protect the injury from impacts or motion.  Anti-inflammatory medications stop the very process that is required to repair the tissue. Medication may give you 'fast' relief from the pain, but it actually slows or even stops the necessary healing process!

Blood pressure medication disables certain natural processes in your body that maintain blood pressure.  However, it does not address the underlying cause of the high blood pressure.  High blood pressure is not a sign of deficiency of blood pressure medication.

If you have high blood sugar or cholesterol, this is your body's stress response to an imbalance in your diet and lifestyle.  Medication does not treat the cause, it only suppresses the symptom.  It doesn't reduce the stress response, nor does it remove the diet and lifestyle factors that cause the stress response.

Surgery is absolutely life-saving or assists healing when it is used to repair damage from traumatic accidents or injuries like lacerations or broken bones. However, when used to treat internal diseases, surgery simply removes all or a portion of a malfunctioning body part or unwanted growth.  It never corrects the causes for the malfunction or unwanted growth.

For example, if you have blockage of the heart vessels, gall bladder stones, or cancer of some body part, a surgeon can remove the artery blockage, gall bladder, or cancer, but it can't correct the cause for the blockage, stones, or cancer.  Consequently, the disease process continues although the immediate issue is relieved temporarily and apparently, quickly.

How acupuncture and natural therapies work

In contrast, acupuncture stimulates the body to self-correct at a deep level.  It works much like exercise.  You probably know that to improve your physical fitness, you need to exercise on a regular basis, generally 2 to 3 times weekly, and for several months in a row.

Many people try one or two acupuncture treatments in an attempt to get relief from conditions that they have had for years, but when they don't get relief after those couple of sessions, they decide that "acupuncture doesn't work" and give up on the treatment plan. 

Suppose you had been sedentary for 15 years, and decided to improve your physical fitness.  You hire a fitness coach, and after one training session, you go back to the second scheduled session, and said to the coach:

"Hey, you know, this exercise stuff isn't working.  It looks like I have just as much fat, and am practically as unfit as I was two days ago when I had my first session. I don't think exercise works!"

Acupuncture has cumulative effects like exercise. Just like there is no universal answer to the question "How many exercise sessions will I need to achieve a certain level of fitness?," there is no fixed universal answer to the question "How many acupuncture treatments do I need?" 

The number you need depends on your initial condition, the frequency of treatments, and whether or not you engage in supportive or contraindicated diet and lifestyle adjustments, and can only be estimated. 

Initially, if only using acupuncture (without herbal medicine or functional nutrition) you will always get better, faster results by getting frequent treatments.  Research shows that it takes 3 consecutive acupuncture treatments to trigger noticeable pain-relief, so the more quickly you complete 3 treatments, the more quickly you get relief. Generally, I recommend 2 to 3 treatments weekly, as this is the frequency shown effective in controlled studies of acupuncture.

This is why we keep your cost per treatment low.  It will allow you to get 2-3 treatments weekly to get the ball rolling, at a cost similar or lower than cost for one treatment at many other clinics.

If you use functional nutrition or herbal medicine in conjunction with (or instead of) acupuncture, you won't need acupuncture as frequently!  

In many cases, internal treatment with nutrition and herbs is the most effective and economical path to health.

Generally, for chronic conditions, a course of 10-12 treatments over 5-6 weeks will gradually produce a positive effect of at least 50% relief from the symptoms.  

Generally one will start to see relief from stress and some pain relief within 4 to 6 treatments if not sooner.  

As a general rule, for chronic internal conditions you can figure 1 month of this type of treatment for every year you have had the condition. However, this is just a general rule.  When using acupuncture, patience is a virtue.

In our experience, in the absence of herbal medicine, many people will get significant to total relief from chronic conditions within 20 to 30 treatments. As a general rule, you will need about 10 treatments for every year you have had the condition. For example, if you have had the condition for 5 years, you may need 50 treatments to get 90% or better relief from your symptoms. However, only experience will reveal the number that takes you to the health goal you want to achieve. 

For example, we have worked with some people who had goals of getting off of medications that, according to conventional physicians, they would be on for life.  We had only the vaguest idea how long it might take to achieve the goal.  

One of those patients wanted to get off the medication she was using because she wanted to have a baby, but the medication could not initially got treatments twice weekly, and after a few months, tapered to once weekly.  She gradually decreased the medication dose over the course of 12 months while receiving acupuncture and reflexology once weekly.  Eventually she completely weaned off the medication, and several months after that, she got pregnant, then 9 months later had a healthy baby girl.  During this whole time she got weekly acupuncture and reflexology for health support.  As of this writing she still gets regular weekly acupuncture to help her keep up with the demands of being a new mother while continuing to work full time as a health care professional.

Keep your eye on the goal and, so long as you are making continuous though gradual improvements, you will eventually discover how many acupuncture treatments you need to get the results you want.  

For ongoing stress relief, some people opt to get acupuncture once weekly, biweekly, or monthly. These people enjoy the preventive effects of acupuncture.  

Like regular exercise, regular acupuncture, a nutrient-dense plant-based diet, and natural health care therapies will help you prevent more costly diseases. 

No matter how many acupuncture treatments you need, we keep our fees reasonable to help you realize your health goals. 

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