There’s a saying in Chinese Medicine: ‘Where there is no free flow there is pain. Where there is pain there is no free flow.’ The basic idea is this: when pain manifests in your body (or your life for that matter) things such as energy and bodily fluids are not circulating/flowing the way they should. When a patient comes in with pain I use the tools at my disposal to crack that stagnation, or lack of flow. The amount of time it takes to get back to a state of health depends on a few things: age of patient, severity of disease, activity level of patient, and how long they’ve had the disease. These factors that affect the flow are what I call The Big Four.
The younger a patient is the more resilient he or she normally is and vice versa. This is the factor that can be counteracted with a good diet and exercise program. I’ve seen people in their 70’s who are in better shape than those in their 20’s and who get phenomenal results from just a few acupuncture treatments, yet those that are overweight and young that don’t exercise and eat in a carefree manner need many treatments for something that should be relatively easy to fix.
Severity of Disease
If a patient walks into my office and complains of severe back pain most likely it will take more than one treatment to retrieve a state of no pain. I often find that the first few treatments lay the groundwork for the future. In the early stages of treatment the patient feels improvement for a day or so and then the pain comes back. However, with consistent weekly treatments he/she begin to feel little to no pain in as little as a month.
Length of Disease
In Chinese Medicine we say that any disease that has been active for more than two weeks is considered to be chronic. When you have a pain for a period of months or years your body becomes accustomed to it. Not to say that your body likes the pain or discomfort but that it starts to accept that it’s the natural way the body should be, which translates to a longer recovery time, and more treatments.
Generally speaking active people tend to get fast results from acupuncture, which makes activity level the most important of the Big Four. Activity can counteract the effects from aging. There have been multiple studies that have shown that regular daily exercise can lower blood pressure and resting heart rate as well as give the person an overall sense of well-being and self confidence. Simple things such as walking or jumping on a trampoline can increase your overall health and wellness as well as improve the effects from your acupuncture treatments.
Of the Big Four the activity level is the most important and really, the only one the patient can have any control over. The benefits from regular exercise well outweigh the inconvenience people often feel it will cause them.