How Many Acupuncture Treatments Will I Need?


If there’s one question I get asked most frequently, it’s this one: how many treatments will I need?  The answer isn’t so simple, however.  There are numerous factors to take into account when determining how many acupuncture treatments you may need, including: 

  • Age

  • Current overall health, including health history

  • How long the pain or condition has been going on

  • Severity of the case

  • How many medications are being taken

  • Diet and Lifestyle

  • Attitude and willingness to embrace change

  • Your goals for healing & health

So, let’s break it down.  First, when I receive emails or calls from a potential patient who asks how many treatments they will need for their particular condition, there is no way I can tell them with honest certainty the answer because there really is no magic formula.  So, each person who seeks acupuncture and/or herbal care at Phoenix Rising Acupuncture, must come in for an initial visit, which includes a thorough review of their health history and a discussion about their lifestyle and their goals for treatment.  The truth is, I won’t know how many treatments are needed until I fully assess the emotional, physical, and mental health and history of each patient.

Don’t let this answer frustrate you.  Here are a few helpful hints that can give insight into approximately how many treatments you may need:

Recent or Minor Afflictions: The more recent the affliction, the less need for ongoing therapy.  Approximately 3-6 treatments for an acute condition, such as recent sprain, respiratory or sinus infection recovery, acute muscle tension, etc.)

Chronic Health Conditions or Severe Afflictions:  The longer and more severe the health condition, the need for ongoing or long-term therapy.  Bottomline: if you’re 55 years old and have been suffering from chronic pain since you were 18, then don’t expect to be pain-free in one session.  Chronic conditions include:

  • Allergies

  • Food Intolerances & Environmental Sensitivities

  • Autoimmune

  • ADHD, Anxiety, & Depression

  • Migraines and Chronic Headaches

  • Insomnia

  • Chronic Pain, which has lasted 6 months or longer

  • Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue

  • Hormonal Imbalance, such as Infertility, PMS, Peri-Menopause, Menopause, Metabolic Syndrome, Adrenal Fatigue, Hypothyroid, etc.

  • Gynecological Health Concerns, including Endometriosis, PCOS, Painful and/or Irregular Menses Cycles, Fibroids or Cysts

If you suffer from a chronic condition (usually 6 months or longer), then a 3-month initial treatment plan is created, which includes 1 to 2 weekly treatments, followed by weekly treatments during the second and third months.  After this, a thorough reassessment is conducted to determine your progress.  Then, we proceed with long-term/preventative care, which can range from weekly treatments, if needed, to monthly treatments, which help keep the body’s hormone, immune, and nervous systems in balance and working optimally.  This ensures that health conditions stay at bay and do not return.  

If you are taking numerous medications, acupuncture treatments can work more slowly and sometimes be inhibited (about 10% of patients).  There are times, however, when miraculous results can be witnessed, even though numerous pharmaceuticals are on board.

If you are 30 years of age or younger, then you will more likely respond more quickly and robustly to acupuncture.  This is only an estimate, however, and many patients in their 70’s and 80’s can become 100% pain free from their long-term hip, knee, or joint pain.  The best time to bring a girl in for PMS or painful or irregular periods is at the start of menses during adolescence.  Treatment at this age can change their life forever, and help prevent future cycles from being painful or experiencing any PMS symptoms.  It also prevents the need to put an adolescent on birth control or exogenous hormone therapy, which can lead to a multitude of severe health problems down the road, including Hashimoto’s or PCOS.

The most determining factor for acupuncture success, regardless of health condition, age, or medications, is diet, lifestyle, and attitude.  If you are one of millions who consume the typical American diet, which includes regular consumption of processed foods, dairy, carbs, sugar, sodas, fried foods, and alcohol, then acupuncture and herbal therapy has a long way to go to overact on these harmful toxins.  One of the goals at Phoenix Rising Acupuncture is to help coach and assist you in making healthy choices each day, which help aid in your journey to wellness. If you’re excited and ready to make conscious choices for your health, then acupuncture can be a brilliant assistant.  After all, “Every bite you take is a powerful opportunity to create health or promote disease.”  ~ Dr. Mark Hyman


Written by: Lori J. Earley, Acupuncturist & Herbalist

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