“How many treatments are required?“
This is a very common and valid question from a patient or a prospective one. Yet it is quite a difficult question to answer because of the WAAUI effect (we are all unique individuals). But perhaps a way of answering the question would be to look at how the treatment effects our energy balance. TL;DR Three weekly sessions will start to give noticeable improvements. Note that this answer is from my clinical experience – other acupuncturist may state a higher number for their own reasons.
Building up Energy Balance
For this exercise, we can consider that the “Energy Balance” is equivalent to our recovery or healing progress. This is shown on the y-axis. Then the treatment number is the x-axis. Point “1” on the x-axis is the first treatment. After the first treatment, the energy balance shoots up in the following two or three days. The patient might notice this, usually in feeling more relaxed and might even get a reduction in their symptom(s). Then, depending on lifestyle and stress levels, the energy balance deteriorates until we get to the second treatment. After the second treatment, the energy balance is boosted, building on the effect of the first treatment. And again, after a couple or so days, there will be a drop in balance but this time the drop is less steep. Then treatment number three pumps up the balance again, building on the previous treatment. But this time, the subsequent drop in balance is a lot less over the same time period.
What this means is that it is best to aim for three weekly treatments at the beginning. Then treatment intervals can be spaced out depending on the patient energy make up and the living and lifestyle environment factors. Once the third treatment balance level is reached, the effect of acupuncture will be noticed by the patient, though it might be felt earlier in some individuals. In some cases the imbalance has a deep hold on the person and an extra one or two cumulative sessions may be needed.
Keeping the Balance
Most patient will then move to a longer treatment interval and this is discussed at or after the third session. I strongly believe that once a good level of energy balance is reached, the individual becomes much more aware of how this balance feels and is encouraged to be responsible about keeping it balanced. Please look at the video on how changes in season affect us and our well being: Seasonal Treatment