The Process of Acupuncture; Reversing Negative Momentum
New patients often ask me about the process of Acupuncture.
The easiest way to answer these questions is to relate Acupuncture treatment to a roller coaster ride (minus the vomiting if roller coasters aren't your thing - but acupuncture can help that too!).
Did you ever notice that the biggest hill of a rollercoaster is always somewhere in the beginning of the ride? This is so the cars can develop enough momentum from the first hill to propel them through the rest of the course. Getting to the top of that first hill, however, takes some work.
The full weight of the cars must be towed up the hill from a standing start before they can be released at the top. In fact, if the ride contains a really gigantic summit, sometimes you are pulled up a smaller hill first, and then the momentum from that smaller hill is used to help you crest the next larger hill.
The early stages of your acupuncture treatment are like the first hill of a rollercoaster. Just as it takes energy to get a heavy train of cars moving from a standstill, breaking a pattern of chronic meridian imbalances requires a large initial output of energy.
Before we can even think about getting you up the first hill, we need to break your current physical pattern and get you to the start. Just like reversing a roller coaster, this requires three initial steps:
Each treatment draws you a little closer to the goal, but initially the body will want to pull back to its previous momentum or posture. This is where the work comes in.
The early progress can be slow going. In addition, unlike the controlled environment of a roller coaster track, life’s stresses will tend to perpetuate negative patterns "adding weight to your car," to continue our metaphor, and thereby act to pull you back down the hill. Through consistency and regularity of treatment, however, these obstacles can be overcome.
Imagine how inefficient it would be if the coaster were to come to a complete stop at the base of each new hill. All momentum would be lost and the hard climb would have to be repeated over and over again. This is exactly what happens with inconsistent treatments. Healing builds upon itself, and breaks in care lead to a slower response.
So how much treatment does it really take? In China a standard course of treatment is 10 treatment in 10 days and then you reassess. Here in the US we find that virtually impossible and largely unnecessary. In my practice I see the average patient once a week for 6 treatments for an initial course and then we reassess. The longer you have been suffering the longer it can take to see lasting results, however, so a course of 12 treatments is generally expected and as mentioned, consistency is key to success.
The best advice I can give, therefore, is to be patient early on in your care and give your treatments time to do their work. Not only must imbalances be addressed, but the body needs time to repair and regenerate from the inside out.
Just as a little tiny roller coaster hill would never propel the cars through their entire run, one or two treatments will not reverse the effects of chronic imbalances. Use momentum as your ally and then sit back and enjoy the healthy ride!
Rebecca M H Kitzerow is a Licensed Acupuncturist practicing in La Center, Washington. With over a decade of experience she has won 10 Nattie consumer choice awards from Natural Awakenings Magazine since 2014.