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
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!
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.