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Ira Wahrman L.Ac on Proper Dosage of Acupuncture Treatment

How much acupuncture do I need?

     At the acupuncture office in Mamaroneck patients often ask how often they need to come for treatment.  Acupuncture is no different from any other form of medical intervention. When you take prescription medication the dosage is listed on the bottle. When you take herbal medicine you are also given a proper dosage to achieve the desired results. Proper dosage of acupuncture allows for effective treatment and good results. When I say dosage of acupuncture I am referring to individual treatment length, frequency of visits and amount of needle stimulation.

Length of treatment:

     The average length of an individual acupuncture session can be anywhere from twenty minutes to forty five minutes. Some treatments may be shorter while others may be longer depending on the individual patients condition. Chronic conditions usually have longer needle retention times.  At the office in Mamaroneck our acupuncture sessions usually last around forty five minutes to an hour.

Frequency of visits:

     Patients always ask me this question. “How often should I come for treatment?” After the first or second visit with a patient it is usually pretty easy to gauge how often they need to come in for treatment. Recently I have been treating a few patients with lower back pain. During treatment the pain diminishes anywhere from ten to eighty or even ninety percent during the first visit. When the patient comes in for their next visit they might tell me that the pain relief lasted for two day, four days, six days, etc.  It depends on the patient. If the pain relief lasted four days it would be advisable for the patient to come in for treatment twice a week.  Acupuncture treatment must be given before the pain reasserts itself to one hundred percent of intensity. Acupuncture is performed often enough so that after each successive treatment the pain will decrease over time. If the pain is allowed to go back to its starting point the treatment will never be successful. Just as we would take prescriptions medication everyday twice a day we need to also receive an adequate amount of acupuncture treatment as well. This is not only true for pain but for digestive issues, respiratory problems and other issues that you are seeking treatment for. Some patients need acupuncture treatment once a week, twice a week, two times a month etc. Each patient is different. After a condition starts to stabilize treatment frequency can be lessened.

Needle Stimulation:

     Proper needle stimulation with acupuncture is also very important. Thicker needles will allow for stronger stimulation of the points which in many cases will allow for faster resolution of the health issue. Strong thrusting of the needle will allow much more sensations of heaviness, pressure, distention and numbness at the needle site. These stronger sensations allow for very dramatic changes especially for the treatment of pain. When I work with my patients in Mamaroneck I make them fully aware of the differences in needle stimulation. They can choose thinner needles and less stimulation or thicker needles and strong stimulation. I have seen that strong needle stimulation often allows for faster results while milder stimulation will yield slower results. Mild stimulation will achieve the desired results but it will just take a longer time. Mild stimulation is suitable for those that are frail and weak. It is up to the doctor to know how much stimulation a patient can handle. I speak to all of my patients about this and we always find a way to make things comfortable for them without sacrificing clinical results.

     Proper dosage of acupuncture will allow for good results in treatment. I always discuss this with my patients and we always find a way to get them the results they desire.


Photo: ‘Question Mark’ By Paula Courtesy of Creative Commons

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