In this episode we take on the question of “How do I know acupuncture will help me?”

 Today’s Everyday Acupuncture Podcast question is answered by Michael Max, of the Yong Kang Chinese Medicine Clinic, in St. Louis, Mo.


How do I know acupuncture will help me?

You don’t. I don’t know either.

It’s like any other process of discovery and intervention. We first strive to understand your present situation. What brought you to this point. What holds your current condition in place. Acupuncture and East Asian medicine seeks first to understand. Understand not just the mettlesome symptom that lead you to pick up the phone for an appointment, but to get a sense of how these symptoms and annoyances fit like puzzle pieces into the rest of your life. What holds them in place. What else are they connected to? Are there several seemingly unrelated issues that are in fact all connected?

Unlike the currently popular “evidence-based” medicine model of lining treatments up with symptoms and letting researcher’s data or insurance company policies decide on the best treatment for you. Chinese medicine is an observation-based medicine that seeks to understand each individual, your unique situation and how all that fits into the greater context of your life.

Acupuncturists don’t look to “get rid of the problem. “ We seek to understand the problem and then help to either strengthen the innate resources a person has for self-healing, or seek to alleviate symptoms so the body has an opportunity to fall into it’s own best balance. Usually we craft a treatment that both works on the root causes and the symptomatic mischief that caused you to reach out for some help.

Will acupuncture help?

As with so much in life you will not know until you give it an honest try. An honest try being roughly 4-6 treatments. While there are miraculous changes that sometimes occur with one treatment, by and large for most people, you’ll need a few treatments to get a sense of if the acupuncture is helping and in what ways it is helping. Remember, while acupuncture may seem exotic, it’s medicine, not magic.

Just as you would give your physical therapist a month or so to correct a problem, give a surgery several months to heal, or a course of drugs 4-6 weeks to see if you respond well, so too it takes some time to understand how you respond to acupuncture.

And one more thing, because in the human body everything is connected to everything else, do be surprised if your sleep or digestion improve, even though you’re being treating for a stiff neck.

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