tid bit regarding time allowed for acu tx’s

I was talking with one of my regular patients recently about the ‘right’ amount of time for an acu treatment and came up with a tiny gem (this fits in with the analogy used in the new book ‘acu is like noodles’, where acu tx’s are equated to nourishment from food). If we think about an acupuncture treatment as a meal, the ideal length for a treatment is similar to the ideal length of time for any meal. Meal times vary per time of day (type of meal) and type of person. Some people eat little or lots by nature and so the amount of time for a sit down meal varies quite a bit based on the individual. If I consider getting my patient up from acu tx in a specific 20-40 minute time slot, say on a buzzer, it seems to fit the idea of allowing someone to eat part of a meal and then suddenly taking the food away at a certain time. This is a simple concept yet I think worth sharing.

Moses Cooper
Author: Moses Cooper

hello POCA family, I found community acupuncture in the early days of Working Class Acupuncture. I was lucky enough to be the first trial employee at WCA in 2005 after Lisa and Skip survived a string of uncomfortable independent contractor acupuncturists. I remember showing up during a clinic expansion painting moment and grabbing a brush. I was feeling grateful to be working with folks that were so obviously helping people of all kinds afford pokes. That was a very attractive bottom line at the time, and still is! I consider my family roots working poor where I come from, so I was both familiar with and willing to 'walk through the fire' to figure out how to punk. I was a well-meaning, yet slow and mentally mired punk in the early days. I made all the communication mistakes you can make as a newbie poker... It took all of my energy to develop a punk mindset and clinic awareness. I often felt like I was on trial both from my employers and my patients as I figured out the basics of being a real punk. Having solid boundaries instead of being over-comforting; connecting with subtle body language as much as...

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  1. food

    i love this analogy. one of my patients recently said to me that he thinks of getting acupuncture as soup, warm nourishing soup. and he has not read noodles book (yet).

  2. the be stealin my noodles!

    I am one of those who gets people up after an hour (more or less).  Partly, this is because my office is small and I need the chair space.  Mostly, it’s what works best with my type A personality.  I like structure.  Maybe I just attract a lot of type As as patients, but no one seems to have a problem with it, and they still get good results.

  3. getting patients up when you

    getting patients up when you need your treatment space for the next patient isn’t ‘bad’ from my point of view. Providing a meal and allowing someone to eat most of it is still very nourishing. At WCA we find that folks average about 45 min-1 hour in tx on thier own schedule. That said, I still have many patients that go for overan hour and feel like they are not reaping the full benefit of a session when they are pulled out of a natural rest cycle. You will get good results with almost any length of acu tx, as long as your patients relax deeply. Any opportunity for deep rest through acu tx is worthwhile. I just find that letting the rest cycle occur naturally is the easiest and most restful way for patients.

  4. I get people up in

    I get people up in 45min-1hr.  It works for me and my patients are happy and get better.  I think there is benefit in the unlimited nap time other clinics can offer, but I believe 45 minutes to an hour is usually plenty for proper treatment.

    I understand the idea of the meal, but most people fall within a similar range of how much food and how long it takes to eat, only a few have very significant variations.  I do pay attention and make adjustments when I feel they do better with longer or shorter times.

  5. it’s great for

    it’s great for acupuncturists to read about your experience Linda. There is no one size fits all for anything in life. All the same, as I said above, in my experience, if you have a large enough space to accomodate allowing patients to rest as long as they want in tx, it is worth trying. Glad to hear 45 min-1 hr tx’s work for your patients. 

  6. What Happened?!

    I love when a patient says, “You know, I can never fall asleep like some of those others.  Don’t worry about waking me–I’ll be signalling you in half-an-hour anyway…”  And then they crash.  And the other chairs turn over.  And when they wake-up, they’re like, “What HAPPENED?!?” 

    Sometimes, there’s such a disconnect between what our minds think we want and what our bodies know we need…it’s brilliant to be able to offer peep’s the time and space to truly *get* what is required in a treatment.

  7. yes, i’m well aware that

    yes, i’m well aware that many CA acupuncturists have relatively small clinics. It’s great to use your clinic to it’s fullest in the CA model. If that means getting patients up on a schedule it will still be awesome acupuncture. For those that have the option to expand their current clinic space and for those that are looking for what type of space feels like a fit, I encourage you to think BIG! Long vision…Skip blogged about this bigness a long time back and I think it’s worth another look for some folks:  https://www.communityacupuncturenetwork.org/node/98

  8. The Toaster Effect

    I have one client who calls it “The Toaster Effect” – when the treatment is done he just ‘pops up’ and is ready. Some people like their toast dark and some like it lightly browned.

     I find that people usually are cooked at 40-45 minutes and will awake almost like clockwork. Of course we have folks that are ready after 20 minutes and some that stay for 2-3 hours. 

    I feel like the magic happens when they are in a deep state of rest and being able to let that unfold for individual needs is very therapeutic.