Most of the people who come to see us are dealing with a chronic health issue - from eczema to hypothyroidism to chronic back pain to IBS to long-standing anxiety - and the first thing we discuss before starting to work together is that acupuncture and herbal medicine take time and persistence in order to see results. We do this because having the right expectations when coming into treatment will set everyone up for success.
For those of you who are curious about acupuncture and what to expect both from the practitioner and yourself, this article is for you. Acupuncture and East-Asian medicine is a powerful intervention that has the potential help you achieve a much higher quality of life. That said, East-Asian medicine treatments closely resemble those of psychotherapy - it is not a magic bullet, it will take time until successful outcomes are achieved, and the success of the treatment relies on both the practitioner and the patient putting in the work.
1. Acupuncture is more like psychotherapy than surgery - it takes a series of sessions to see results.
Psychotherapy is an intervention that takes time and whose results are cumulative - acupuncture is the same way. Acupuncture taps into your internal resources to correct any disharmonies that are contributing to an illness, and the length and depth of that disharmony will determine how long it will take for you to see progress. If you are coming in to treat an ailment that you've had for 20 years, it will take longer to move the needle (no pun intended!) than if you are coming in for an ailment that showed up a few months ago.
2. Your acupuncturist might go through a 'trial and error' period over a few of visits to see what works - especially if your issue is long-standing.
This is because as humans our ailments tend to be very layered and it takes a while for the true nature to come through. You see this in conventional medicine as well - your practitioner will start you on a medication, exercise, or other intervention to see how you react, and depending on that reaction they will continue with that line of treatment, pivot the treatment methodology, or discontinue care.
3. Your progress depends just as much on what you do outside of the treatment room as it does on what your practitioner does inside of it.
On any given week you will have one hour of acupuncture and 167 without. Part of what your acupuncturist provides is a treatment plan to help you make the most of that 167 hours. This may include herbal medicine, lifestyle adjustments, and dietary advice on what to include and what to limit in your daily consumption. Following these guidelines is just as important as the needles and moxa that your acupuncturist uses in the treatment room.
Going into your East-Asian medical care with the right expectations will help set you up for success. That's not to say that every intervention will be successful, but what you want to understand is how your acupuncturist knows whether to progress, pivot, or refer out. This is why doing free consultations or calling the office before starting treatment is very important - your success will depend on the relationship and trust you develop with your practitioner, so you want to know who you are getting in bed with beforehand. If you're curious if working with us at Tendervine Health is the right fit for your health needs, we recommend booking a free phone consultation here.