By Linda Joy Stone, OMD, L.Ac., Dipl. Ac.
In your initial visit with your acupuncturist, you are asked a wide range of questions about your lifestyle, physical health and frame of mind. While your immediate focus may be the alleviation of a particular symptom, your practitioner is also monitoring your spectrum of health within this wide array of concerns (such as energy, sleep, appetite,stress, emotional issues, etc.). Very often, change appears first in areas seemingly
unrelated to the primary symptoms.
For instance, frequently a person suffering from headaches will first observe that she is sleeping better. Then she might notice that she is less irritable or more hopeful. After that, the headaches may lessen or resolve entirely.
Hence, after a few treatments, if you are reacting differently to the circumstances of your life, if you are less restricted by your symptoms, or if other concerns in your health improve, then acupuncture treatment may be helping you.
And consider the possibility that your symptom was also helping you, perhaps to call your attention to some aspect of your lifestyle or some emotional upset. It might be your spirit trying to get your attention! When your lifestyle and emotional life become healthier, your symptom may no longer be necessary.
Though many people think of acupuncture treatment for pain, headaches, allergies, and the like, patients who have actually been in treatment don’t necessarily talk about their illnesses when talking about treatment. They often say things like, “I feel more at ease, more relaxed…I sleep better…life is easier…I’m less reactive to events. I’m more aware of little symptoms and I’m able to stop myself from making things worse…I’m more active with my friends and enjoy life more.”
WHAT IF I DO NOT FEEL ANY EFFECTS FROM ACUPUNCTURE?
Acupuncture is not a “quick-fix” medicine. It may have taken you a long time to get to where you are, and it may take time to reverse it. To quote a Chinese proverb: “If you do not change your direction, you are likely to end up where you are headed.” Many medications work contrary to the natural flow that acupuncture facilitates. If your condition is chronic (over many years) and you are on multiple medications, you may
not feel the effects of acupuncture for some time, if at all. A series of treatments are recommended. Be willing to discuss your concerns with your practitioner and trust your intuition regarding continuing treatment or not. It’s important to remain curious and open-hearted.