7 Things an Acupuncturist Wants You to Know


Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as modalities are still climbing the popularity ladder; because of this there is still a lot of education needed for the general public about these ancient methods of healing. Here are seven things I repeatedly talk about in my practice that help people understand how the medicine works.

Results vary wildly  

I am frequently asked, “how long will it take to achieve results?” and unfortunately there is no template answer. Consider the following regarding changes: How long have you had the issue? Do you have multiple issues/complaints? How severe is it? What other types of interventions have you tried? Every person responds uniquely to acupuncture and some people take leaps and bounds to recovery in a short time span. Typically, the longer you have had the problem, or the more complicated the situation, the longer it is going to take to unravel the issue. Acupuncture & TCM treat not only the symptoms you are experiencing but the root cause as well. It is a subtle medicine and works in a delicate and gentle way to harmonize and balance the systems of the body and mind. Although we do our best to work efficiently and quickly for results, there is no magic needle. Having reasonable expectations of healing will benefit both you and the practitioner.

Keep a scale mindset 

Because acupuncture compounds on itself and works in subtle ways, it tends to shift on a scale rather than jump from existent to non-existent. There really is no part of TCM that is black and white, and the healing process is often non-linear. You may take a step back, before taking any forward. When you visit your practitioner for a session, think about the following things: did the issue improve at all? If I were to rate it on a scale, did it change even half of a point? Is the issue less intense or less frequent? Do I concentrate on the issue less? Am I able to focus more on my daily life? Does it feel like I am moving in the right direction? Was anything else affected positively such as mood, sleep, energy, etc.? Prior to visiting an acupuncturist, if you have seen all kinds of other practitioners, for many sessions or length of time, and not seen great results, ask yourself: how many sessions have I been to and how do the results compare to other practitioners? It is not about who does more for you or what the better modality is. It is about what works best for you at that time and that you are moving in the direction of healing. Often times, people get the best results by seeking out multiple types of practitioners and methods.  

Keep a journal or record 

Keeping some type of log or tracking can help you stay clear about the level of results you are getting from acupuncture. It can be hard to keep track of many little details, so being able to look back and see the shifts and changes that have subtly occurred over the course of your treatment plan can give an accurate depiction of where you started and how far you have come.

Don’t give up too soon

Hang in there and give the medicine time to work. Remember why you sought out this treatment method and trust that your practitioner is doing everything possible to get you the desired results.

There is no detail too small

Everything counts in TCM. Details help the practitioner determine the best methods of treating you and even the smallest piece of information could be critical for your journey. Try to be an open book!

Seek to understand your level of personal accountability
To put it frankly, there is only so much your acupuncturist can do within the scope of the
medicine. Wellness and health occur due to the combination of many things: emotional balance and harmony, dietary and food choices, exercise and movement, passion and hobbies, supportive relationships, belonging to community, connection with nature and much more. Advice, suggestions, resources and tools may all be given by your practitioner but each person has a choice on how they will live their life on a day-to-day basis. Try keeping the whole picture in mind when you are gauging whether or not acupuncture and related modalities are helping.

Find the right person

Acupuncturists vary as much as anything else in the world and everyone brings something unique to the table. Connecting with your practitioner is important and you may have to shop around until you find the right fit. If you have tried acupuncture in the past and had a bad experience, trust that there is someone out there (likely multiple people) that will give you a much more enjoyable and memorable experience.



    1. Hi William – the short answer is that without knowing the details of you and your situation, it is hard to give a definitive answer. I have seen acupuncture work for just about everything, however, it varies deeply with frequency of treatments, level of results and how long/how many sessions it took to get there. I am happy to talk with you further via phone or email to give you a better idea of what acupuncture and related modalities could do for the issue you mentioned. I’d love to hear from you!


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