Said many times, worth repeating.

Frequent acupuncture treatments trump other Chinese medical modalities in potency.

This mantra has been weaved into CA workshops for some time now. I can attest to its accuracy, and like to pass it along as well.

One such occasion was back this past fall. As part of a open dialogue about CA among L.Ac.’s, I mentioned the idea that a more full idea of the power of acupuncture itself can be observed when one has the ability to treat/get treated regularly and frequently when appropriate.
I testified what I may have mentioned to more than a few CANers; I learned more about acupuncture during the first year working as a community acupuncturist than the 7 years previous combined thanks to having the luxury of treating folks as frequently as needed in a CAP.

These are words that have been earned, not borrowed I am content to say. However they were not necessarily received openly by many in the group that day. I know this as one of the attendees – who has since become a part-timer at our CAP – confessed to me she scoffed at the notion at the time. And that she wasn’t alone.

She’s now beginning to see truism for herself. She mentioned recently she’s only had to have a single conversation with a person who’s been frustrated with the pace of her progress at community clinic over these past 3 months. In her private room gig, this happens with regularity – as it did in my time working private room acupuncture.

“It’s a huge load off of my shoulders”, she admits, “acupuncture works here like we’ve read about in school”.

Frequency Trumps All Modalities.

Frequent treatments free us punks from the pressure of performing miracles with once a week (or less frequent) treatments – even with the help of various CM modalities. Greater frequency of treatment also affords both patient and punk the chance to more quickly build mutual trust and understanding – it gives the central nervous system a better chance to migrate from sympathetic (‘fight-or-flight’) to parasympathetic (‘at rest’) as a baseline – and for the Group and the Individual to co-mingle in the open treatment rooms that examplify community acupuncture clinics…

Frequency Trumps All Modalities.

I’ll share a couple of stories I heard today in clinic that highlight what is possible when people are given the opportunity to receive treatment regularly and frequently…

Nancy has been coming to our community clinic for about 6 months, mainly for treatments of migraine headaches triggered around/during her menses. She’s dealt with them for many years, and had (almost) resigned herself to their presence in her life.  This also caused her a fair amount of anxiety.

With weekly txs, things started to change slowly but surely; first 3 days of horrible headaches as usual, next month, 3 days of moderate h/a’s, followed by 2 days of moderate h/a’s, then 1 day of a ‘light one’. Today has been one week since her last menses ended, and still no head pain. Needless to say she’s encouraged.

Lorelei has been getting treated 1-2x/week for chronic back pain. Ten years of pain. She usually comes in with her sister, who conquered her loss of balance following spinal surgery with the help of acupuncture at our clinic a while back. Like her sister, she is restless and cannot sit still for long. Beyond this they both also startle very easily. So it was with mild surprise that Lorelei continued to return to the clinic to receive treatment despite modest initial progress and various velcro shoe, plastic bag and cell phone induced wake-up calls. But she has, and though it has taken the better part of 3 months, she reports she is turning a corner.

“I really feel better. I was out gardening this weekend, and though I am sore after doing it I never would have even tried last year.” I can testify she is even sleeping for a little while during her visits recently.

Frequency Trumps All Modalities.

Kevin is a frail man in his early eighties whose in for acupuncture once/week thanks to friends who drive him to clinic (he doesn’t drive) and despite a fixed income. He’ll normally want to focus his treatment on sleeplessness and a right knee that has undergone multiple surgeries, yet remains painful still.

For most of last week however, low-level nausea and digestive upset were troublesome. He worried he’d not feel well enough to make it to his grandson’s high school graduation at the end of the week. Thankfully Kevin made it to the ceremony, managing pretty well I’m told (with a cup of ginger tea in hand).

When in this week, he shared his theory for the belly trouble.
“Well I wouldn’t just tell anyone this, but I’ve come to feel a great deal of trust between us working with you over the past year or so and I’ve come to know this as a safe place ..and well anyway, I found out a close relative remembered she was sexually abused as a little girl, and is having a helluva time dealing with it all right now…..this is especially heart-wrenching for me. I never told you before, but when I was 56 I remembered that I was abused  as a young one as well….And am in some ways still working it out. So her coming to face this for herself is bringing back things for me too – and I think that’s why my stomach is doin’ backflips on me…”

Frequency Trumps All Modalities.

Related Articles

Conference Keynote: Breaking the Ceiling

The theme for this conference is “Breaking Barriers”. You know, there are so many barriers to break in acupuncture that it was really hard to choose which ones to talk about for this speech. But since I’ve spent so much time talking about classism as a barrier, I thought it might be fun to shift gears a little and talk about numbers.

Responses

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. I am really glad you put this here for the

    general public.  It feels good to have taken a journey with patients and have them come out feeling better and generally being better.  Nothing feels worse than feeling like you will have to live with ___________ for the rest of your life because no one seems to be able to help.  But a bit of courage, patience and faith as a patient towards your practitioner is well worth the effort.  The most that is needed is a person willing to carve out some time in their life to get acupuncture.

    Sometimes I feel frustrated because I am not sure that I convey the message of ‘frequency and consistency’ well enough to those who need it.  Any advice in that direction would be well appreciated.  From your stories and ones of my own, that kind of advice may help patients who come into my office -and those of other practitioners feeling similarly troubled- from needlessly suffering.

     Thanks for writing this.

  2. andy, your patients’ stories are powerful. it’s beautiful to witness people feeling SAFE at their healthcare practioner’s office. that’s one thing i never envisioned before treating patients. thank you for sharing!

  3. Here in Victoria BC, the loveliest of all Canadian cities where people tend to be very active due to the mild year-round weather, I liken treatments to going to the gym. “Once a week is better than none, but we both know that you won’t get too far on the kind of schedule. If you want to make real change you’re going to have to be consistent and get in here 2-3 times a week until you’ve reached your goal. THEN we can talk maintenance.”