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What to Expect From Acupuncture Treatment

330447383_6a9b134a27_mMost people come to our acupuncture office in Mamaroneck, New York because they are in pain or experiencing some sort of physical or emotional discomfort.  Overcoming illness whether it be physical or emotional takes time.  It took some time for you to feel this way and it will take some time for you to feel better.  At our office we look at our patients as a whole and not as a single symptom.  This means we not only work with you on your main complaint but we try and make you as healthy as possible. Physically, emotionally and mentally.    Reducing stress and anxiety, improving your mood, improving your overall sleep quality, improving digestion or any other things that might be bothering you.  Throughout the course of treatment various modalities may be used.  Including acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, tuina, gua sha, cupping, exercise etc.  Dietary and lifestyle advice will be included as well.

There are generally three phases to healing.

Phase 1 – Relief of Symptoms “Patching the tire”


During the first stage we are working to reduce your pain and discomfort.  Most patients need to come for treatment two to three times per week for a period of time.  This stage focuses on eliminating symptoms or greatly reducing them.  This stage you will notice a lot of back and forth in regards to the symptoms being address.  Symptoms will improve and then slowly start to return.  The goal is that with each treatment your symptoms will become less and less over time.  Some patients will have faster symptomatic changes while for others it will be slowly.  In stage one we also begin to work on your overall health as well.  All systems of the body are worked with.  Sleep, digestion, respiration, reproduction, etc.

All patients respond differently to treatment.  In general there are a few common scenarios for how symptoms change in Phase 1. 

  • You may not feel any symptom relief during your sessions and when you wake up the following morning you will have some relief. This will happen in about 10% of cases.
  • Your symptoms may be aggravated for the next 24-48 hrs. Then you will notice your symptom has improved.  This will happen in about 10% percent of cases.
  • You will notice symptom relief during the session. The amount of symptom relief varies from patient to patient. 
  • Some patients will not notice changes until after a few sessions.

Phase 2 – Corrective Care “Changing the Tire”


During this stage your symptoms of pain and discomfort will be greatly reduced.  The frequency of visits will be reduced as well.  This is the time when we continue to work on the underlying causes of your initial pain and discomfort.  Deeper levels of healing will be reached.  We are now focusing mainly on making you as healthy as possible by making your body stronger, relaxed and more efficient.  Our goal is to transform your body from the inside out.

During this phase you can easily relapse due to simple things if treatment is discontinued.  It is important to continue treatment to help maintain your progress from phase 1. 

Note: During Phase 1 and 2 it is normal to have flare ups of your symptoms.  It happens to most patients during the course of treatment and it is not something to become upset about or frustrated with.  It is part of the process.

Phase 3 – Maintenance and Wellness Care “Oil Changes and Tune Ups”

During this stage your overall health should be stable and treatment frequency can be reduced to once per month, bi monthly or seasonally.  The reason for these occasional visits are to help your body stay healthy and your mind stay relaxed.  Making acupuncture part of your lifestyle will help keep your immune system strong, energy levels high, and stress levels low.  Little issues will come up here in there in our lives and wellness care can address these issues before they become more serious.  You should also keep up with exercises, lifestyle changes and dietary changes to keep you strong and healthy.

Final Thoughts

The speed at which you pass through these stages will vary from patient to patient.  There are many factors that will have an effect on your progress.

  • Your ability to stick with your treatment plan.
  • The length of time you have been experiencing your symptoms.
  • Your willingness to make necessary dietary and lifestyle changes.
  • Your willingness to avoid activities that can aggravate your symptoms.
  • Your willingness to work on limiting beliefs.
  • Your willingness to take responsibility for your own health.


Give us a call at (914) 772-4044 to discuss whether acupuncture and Chinese medicine would be suitable for you.


Photo: IMG_6044 by Thunderchild7 courtesy of creative commons
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