This will depend on what the patient is being treated for. It is common for treatments to be scheduled once or twice a week in the beginning, in order to obtain optimal response, and then, as the condition improves, once every week or two.
The Medical Acupuncturist may also prescribe acupuncture pressure point exercises or even provide “press needles” for the patient to use at home.
Acupuncture is often used to prevent disease and to promote health, energy and vitality. These patients often see their Medical Acupuncturist 2-4 times each year for a "tune up" or "balancing" treatment.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE FOR THE TREATMENT TO WORK?
A positive response to acupuncture treatment is sometimes reported after the first treatment but, most commonly, is experienced between the second and fourth treatment.
Some systemic conditions, such as menstrual problems, may require about three cycles for the body to respond.
Acupuncture appointments tend to be scheduled further and further apart, after an optimal response has been achieved.
ARE THERE ANY RISKS TO ACUPUNCTURE TREATMENT?
Usually not. Acupuncture is a very safe method of encouraging the body to promote natural healing and improve function. Done properly, acupuncture rarely poses any risk.
Problems documented by researchers have usually resulted from mistakes made by the acupuncturist such as: failing to refer a patient for other treatment that might be more effective or appropriate for their specific condition; causing infections by using un-sterile needles; injuring a vital organ by inadvertently pushing a needle into it.
Overall, the National Institute of Health recently concluded that acupuncturists have an extremely good safety record.
While acupuncture is an extremely safe form of practice, there are some rare absolute contraindications and some special circumstances that might require a modified approach:
Absolute contraindications: · Septicemia · Disseminated Intravascular Coagulopathy (DIC) · Central Nervous System infection
Special circumstances that might require a modified approach: · Pregnancy, especially in the first three months · Cardiac valve disease · Pacemaker · Artificial joints · Hemophilia · Anticoagulant medication
ARE THERE ANY SIDE EFFECTS TO ACUPUNCTURE TREATMENT? Usually not.
As the body’s internal chemicals and hormones are stimulated and healing begins to take place, general changes in appetite, sleep, bowel or urination patterns, or emotional state may be triggered.
It is also common, with the first one or two treatments, to experience a sensation of deep relaxation or even mild disorientation immediately following the treatment. These effects usually wear off within 24-48 hours.
Occasionally the original symptoms worsen for a few days after treatment but this should not cause concern, as this is often an indication that the acupuncture is starting to work.
According to a November 1999 issue of the Archives of Family Medicine, a few patients have reported more serious reactions, such as dizziness, sweatiness or nausea. There have even been a few isolated cases reported where patients even lost consciousness for a few minutes. However, these problems usually resolve spontaneously, without harm to the patient or need for treatment.