One of the most common questions people ask about acupuncture is, “how often do I need to come in for acupuncture treatments?” The answer to this question is not quite as simple as it seems- not all ailments or issues require the same amount of care, and some issues require a more long term treatment plan whilst others (such as recovering from an injury) requires a more vigorous short term approach to fixing your issue.
There is, however, a general layout of what works best for patients, with three levels of care in acupuncture treatments. Once the acupuncturist has determined where you are on this spectrum, a treatment plan can be made especially for you that will best fit your needs and help you get the most out of your acupuncture treatments.
Level One: Acute Care
This level of treatment puts a focus on the present issues, usually dealing with more recent issues or conditions that would require shorter term care. If you’re curious as to what ailments would be treated in this stage, here are a few examples of what is treated:
If you’ve suffered from an injury recently or are suffering from a short-term ailment, such as spraining your ankle or came down with travelers’ diarrhea on vacation. Another good example is if you’re in the beginning stages of pregnancy and are dealing with morning sickness. If you are having a flare-up of a condition that was previously in remission or of a chronic condition, then acute care is also the place to begin for you. Lastly, if you’ve been plagued with a health issue and have been dealing with your symptoms for quite some time and are simply new to acupuncture, you will also begin at this level of care to help to relieve your symptoms.
This level of treatment is more aggressive than the other levels of care, and it may be suggested to you to come in for acupuncture treatments at least once to twice a week for the first two weeks of care. Treatment will depend on how you react to the acupuncture itself, as well as based on what you’re coming in for. If it’s a chronic condition, your treatments may be further apart, but a longer-term process overall. If it’s an injury you’re suffering from, your treatments will be more frequent, but for a shorter period.
Because the effects of acupuncture are cumulative, you cannot expect your symptoms from a chronic condition to disappear after one or two treatments (although that would be nice). Instead, each treatment builds upon the positive effects from each visit, so it’s wise to stick to the plan that the acupuncturist suggests so that you aren’t playing catch-up each time you come in if your appointments are spaced too far apart.
Once your symptoms are relieved and/or your health goals are met, you’ve successfully completed the Acute Care level of treatment, allowing you to move onto the Transitional Care level of treatment.