How Many Acupuncture Treatments are Needed?

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Find out how to greatly reduce pain
with acupuncture treatments

The first time you visit an acupuncture clinic, it may feel pretty similar to a visit to your primary care doctor. 

The reception staff is attentive. You fill out your general health paperwork. And you talk about your health and well-being with your provider. 

But as the appointment starts to end, you might start to discuss a longterm plan. Not quite like your conventional healthcare setting. Instead of “see you in six months for your routine check-up”, your Acupuncturist will provide details on a number of follow-up sessions. 

And because your body and health are different than the hundreds of other patients being treated, each treatment plan is going to be different. 

So, how does your acupuncturist determine how many treatments are needed?

The number of acupuncture treatments is determined by three factors: 



  1. The length of time you’ve had the problem


  2. The severity of your problem and,


  3. Your response to the initial 3 or 4 acupuncture treatments


Let’s use pain as an example…



Many people seek acupuncture to reduce pain. Maybe you’re one of them. Or you’re considering acupuncture for your pain symptoms.

More than 76.2 million US Americans suffer from chronic pain

Acute or recent painful condition usually takes fewer visits to resolve than a chronic problem. So, the sooner you get to the clinic the better!

Chronic pain, on the other hand, that has been persistent for at least 4 to 6 months requires a bit more attention.

Let’s break it down into neuropathic and structural pain.

Neuropathic Pain

If the acute painful condition is neuropathic in nature then usually 10 visits will resolve the issue. 

Neuropathic pain, or simply nerve pain, is defined as having no structural cause and the nerve fibers themselves might be damaged, dysfunctional, or injured. Generally, there’s a problem with aggravated sensory nerves, which will not stop firing and producing pain. 

Why is acupuncture good for treating neuropathic pain?

Acupuncture is a purely neural procedure and it takes a neural procedure to solve a neural problem. Quite frankly, acupuncture is the very best way to treat these issues

Structural Pain

If the acute painful condition is a structural problem as diagnosed by a medical doctor then the visits could easily extend beyond 10 visits. 

Structural problems are those where something in the body is actually pushing on a sensory nerve or a group of sensory nerves. 

A perfect example would be a bulging disc impinging on a group of spinal sensory nerves.

Chronic problems, whether neuropathic or structural, can take up to 32 visits over a 4 month period.

Of course, the severity of the problem combined with the response to the initial 3 visits is also a factor in determining the number of acupuncture visits needed to resolve an issue. 

If the response in the first 3 visits is spectacular then the total number of visits required will be less. 

If the initial response is attenuated then the total amount of visits required will be more.

So when will you feel pain relief?

It varies based on severity. 

If there is no result in the first 3 visits or 4 visits then acupuncture might not be the best approach in helping the patient. 

At Acupuncture & Wellness, our general guidelines are that we have to see at least a 2-hour relief of pain to justify continuing.

In Summary

When providing you with a treatment plan your acupuncturist takes into consideration the length of time you’ve had the problem, the severity of your problem and, your response to the initial 3 or 4 acupuncture treatments. 

Seeking acupuncture for pain relief is very common and treatments vary based on severity.

More than 76.2 million US Americans suffer from chronic pain, and those seeking acupuncture treatment can expect up to 32 visits over a 4 month period.

Of course, acupuncture treatments are individualized and the best way to determine that length of time is to speak with your acupuncturist. They will guide you through the entire treatment plan! 

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