Every patient wants to know, “How do I get the most out of my acupuncture treatment?”
Below are links to suggestions of what to do before and after treatments, but the number one way is to use the concept of Strategic Scheduling.
Strategic Scheduling is based on the understanding of how acupuncture influences your body’s own healing mechanisms and it’s state of “homeostatic balance”. Homeostatic Balance is the Western Scientific term that describes how the body will self regulate to stay within in normal ranges of function. Think body temperature as an easy example, but it is far more important than simply body temperature. Aging, poor diet, stress, lack of exercise, overwork, lack of sleep, and disease can all effect how well the body can function and often determine a new, sub-par, normal.
Another important example is seen when the body is deprived of food. The body would then reset the metabolic set point to a lower than normal value. This would allow the body to continue to function, at a slower rate, even though the body is starving. Therefore, people depriving themselves of food while trying to lose weight would find it easy to shed weight initially and much harder to lose more after. This is due to the body’s readjusting itself to a lower metabolic set-point to allow the body to survive with its low supply of energy. Exercise can change this effect by increasing the metabolic demand. – Wikipedia
When a patient starts acupuncture treatment the body gets nudged into a more optimal “normal function range”. This is the concept of Yin and Yang. If a patient is too hot (too Yang) then we treat to build relatively more cooling (more Yin). We do this by either dispersing heat or by building Yin. Which way we go is based on tongue and pulse diagnosis as well as pattern recognition.
If you receive only one acupuncture treatment, in most cases, you’ll feel better briefly, but the body will tend to move back to the state of sub-par balance it was in before treatment, especially if the patient is still under stress, not eating well, etc. and dealing with a chronic issue. Acute issues often resolve with only 1-5 treatments because the body hasn’t had to adapt, yet, to compensate for the short term injury or upset. The longer that treatment is delayed, however, the harder the issue becomes to treat and the more likely that the body will adapt to a chronic state of dysfunction.
With acute issues, like sprained ankles or back strains, starting treatment as soon as possible after the injury gives the best shot at resolving it quickly … sometimes almost immediately. Once it becomes a chronic condition, it will take longer to reverse the pattern of disharmony. That’s where Strategic Scheduling really shines.
Strategic Scheduling calls for having acupuncture treatments close enough together that the body doesn’t fully return to the pre-treatment state of sub-par balance before the next acupuncture treatment. By doing this, we can make faster, and more long lasting progress.
To learn more about strategic scheduling, check out our webpage Making the most of acupuncture.
Click here to learn how to prepare BEFORE your acupuncture treatment.
Click here to learn how to care for yourself AFTER your acupuncture treatment.
– Dave Schiman, Acupuncturist