I get this question all the time and I totally understand it. Most people come to acupuncture as a “last resort”. They have already exhausted other measures such as medications, injections, surgeries, PT, massage, chiropractic care and so on. Doctor after Doctor, appointment after appointment and they are tired. I understand. I’ve been there. That is how I found acupuncture, too.
But here is the thing: There is no magic bullet to true healing. Acupuncture is not a band-aid the way some “treatments” are. It seeks to address the cause of your symptoms and that, unfortunately, takes time. You would not expect to do ONE sit up and get a 6-pack would you? Or to take ONE blood pressure pill and never need another, would you? Change is possible, but it takes time and repetition. Your body has all the necessary ingredients to reverse most symptoms but it has to have the right circumstances to do so. And the primary circumstance is a commitment to repetition.
Will you need acupuncture forever? Not likely. Might you need it long term? Possibly. Are there any guarantees- NOPE. But don’t let that frighten you. Nearly everyone gets some kind of relief with the right time commitment. I have many patients that achieve a symptom- free state who choose to keep getting regular acupuncture because they like it. Or they are afraid to cut back because they do not want their symptoms to return.
“Regular” treatment or maintenance means different things for different people. Some people have symptoms that arise from a lifestyle issue. For example- if you have a job that requires you to stand all day but standing for too long hurts your back. If you are not close to retirement and are facing many more years on your feet, it is vital to find a balance that both reduces pain but also keeps you healthy enough to continue working. As you become symptom free, that is when we play around with what treatment frequency will work to keep you in optimal health. Some people come every other week, some come once a month, some come 4 times a year. Some disappear entirely until a symptom acts up again. It all depends on your particular circumstances. But we will work as a team to find out what works for you.