At your first visit we will give you an overall treatment plan for your main complaint. Any time you come in for treatment feel free to check in about your treatment plan with one of the acupuncturists- or ‘punks as we like to call ourselves.
Traditionally a course of acupuncture treatment in China is treatment daily, 10 days in a row. For many common complaints, including pain of all kinds, 3 courses or 30 treatments are given, with 3 day breaks between courses. PCA realizes that most people can’t come get treatment almost every day for a month straight. We have designed our clinic systems and pricing to help people come as frequently as possible for each person’s unique situation. Do what works for you. If you can only come once a week or once every 2 weeks, then that’s great, please do that. You will still see results, just maybe a bit slower.
From our experience we have found that simple and frequent treatments yield the best results, but we recognize that unlike in China where acupuncture is provided as part of regular health care access, here in the US most people could not arrange to come every day for a month. Both cost and time would be an issue. Most commonly we start people off with a recommended 2 times a week for 3 weeks. After completing 6 treatments we will reassess how things are going with you and either suggest that you continue to come at about this same frequency for a bit longer, or at that time you might decrease frequency to maintain the benefits you’ve received.
In some cases, like with very acute pain, labor induction, unrelenting migraines, nausea, etc. we recommend daily treatments until things change more significantly.
Here are some guidelines for figuring out what amount of treatment is right for you:
First Visit: Do I like acupuncture at PCA?
Come check us out. Is acupuncture right for you? Do you like us and how we do things? Are our chairs comfy? Did you fall asleep? Did you have a good experience? Did we help you with your symptoms? You won’t know till you give it a try. Oh, and you can bring your friend or co-worker along to keep you company too. At the end of your first visit, we will give you a frequency of treatment plan that will help with your main complaints.
Visit Two through Six: Will acupuncture at PCA work for me?
At PCA, we use the next 5 treatments to address your symptoms and to determine if the acupuncture is working for you. You should see some shift in your symptoms within these five treatments. These changes might include decrease in pain, change in location or quality, or general improvement in symptoms. For acute to severe conditions, we recommend you get your 5 treatments in 1 to 2 weeks. For moderate to mild conditions, we recommend the 5 treatments in 2 to 3 weeks. PCA will give you a written treatment plan at your first visit with our recommendations on it. For people with chronic conditions, we recommend the same initial five treatments within 2 to 3 weeks to help create momentum for change within the body.
Visit Seven through…Get enough treatment
This is sometimes called corrective care. Chinese medicine calls it fixing the root. We just call it getting enough treatment. How many treatments? A simple rule of thumb is to take how many treatments it took to meet your goals and double that. For example, if it took 4 treatments to make your elbow pain get down to a 2/10 and you’re happy with that, then we would recommend another 4 treatments. We will regularly re-evaluate patients after every 10 visits to make sure we are still on track and if treatment continues to make sense. Again, do what works for you.
We call these treatments “tune ups”. Patients come in with no real complaints and just want treatments as a preventative or just to maintain satisfactory health levels. Frequency of treatments at this stage can be from once a week, to once a month, or seasonal as needed. Again, do what works for you.
Special Acute Condition Treatments
Sometimes patients will develop or have acute conditions. Often these patients will come in daily or multiple times a week until the condition is back under control. A good example of this is acute migraines or acute back pain. Patients can come in during these flare ups, maybe for a day or several days in a row. These situations are evaluated on an individual basis.