“How soon will I be cured?”
The question of what kind of results will be obtained from treatment and how soon is an important question to address in the doctor/patient relationship. To our dismay we see many patients in both alternative and conventional medicine who are undergoing treatments without any idea of what kind of results to expect and in what time frame. Without a clear understanding of expectations the patient will continue to do therapies that give little or incomplete results and that only leads to lost time and frustration.
There is no such thing as a guaranteed cure in any treatment or medicine, but there still needs to be accountability in care. Without a clear understanding of expectations within a definite time frame there cannot be accountability on the part of the doctor or patient, and as is the case in any human relationship, accountability is necessary for good interactions to happen.
The following are some general guidelines that apply to most (not all) patients. The standard patient at Natural Chinese Medicine is one who has been chronically ill for at least 5 years or more and has seen an average of eight (8) other doctors before coming to us. They either do not have a clear diagnosis or they do have a diagnosis but have not received relief from conventional medicine. This is based on a survey of our patient files in 2010.
Obviously, if you’re very healthy and are coming in for a minor problem or an acute injury like a sprained ankle, you should expect to be better faster. And if you’re problem is severe such as autoimmune disease, neurological illness, or a longstanding organ degeneration…it will take a bit longer. Talk to us if you have questions and we’ll tailor the expectations to your unique case.
Initial healing cycle is 6-9 weeks
The initial healing cycle for most patients at Natural Chinese Medicine is 6-9 weeks based on the severity of the problem.
This is what is expected of the patient during this time:
- Acupuncture (regular or needle-free) sessions once per week during the first 6-9 weeks
- Taking herbs/supplements as prescribed
- Avoiding junk food such as flour, sugar, and alcohol
- Drinking plenty of clean water (this is very important)
- Following a healthy lifestyle that includes a clean diet, gentle exercise (like walking), getting enough sleep, and reducing stress. Ask us for more info on this.
If you hold up your end of the deal as the patient, you should expect an increase in your overall health of about 40-60% after this initial healing cycle. Basically, you should feel a significant improvement (not a complete cure, but significant improvement) in your overall sense of being on both a physical, as well as mental/emotional level. The symptoms that you came to us for should be significantly less and much improved. Our treatments stay true to the traditional Chinese methods. They affect both the mind and body.
“What if I don’t feel any better after this initial cycle?”
More than 90% of the patients who complete the initial healing cycle (assuming they were compliant with care instructions and gave the treatment a fair shot to work) feel much better and are happy. Unfortunately, no form of medicine is 100% successful and that includes us. Thankfully, we can say that it is not possible for our treatments to harm a patient or make them worse. So if the treatment doesn’t work you will not be any worse for it. There are no side effects with acupuncture and natural herbs/vitamins.
If you don’t feel any better after the initial healing cycle we will not continue to treat you as it would be a waste of your time and money. We will look to refer you to another doctor who we feel may be of help. But again, keep in mind that this rarely happens with us.
“How close to 100% are you?”
So let’s assume that after the initial 6-9 week healing cycle you do feel at least 40-60 percent better and there is a significant improvement in your physical/mental/emotional health. It is at this point that we will ask you how close you are to 100% on a physical as well as mental/emotional level.
Based on how close you feel to your goal of 100%, we will recommend that you continue to come for treatment on a weekly basis until you are at least 90% better. During this time period you should expect to be closer to 100% on a weekly basis assuming that you are continuing to follow our care instructions and live a healthy lifestyle. If for any reason you are not able to continue weekly treatments due to time or finances we will adjust the schedule according to what you are comfortable with as long as you are ok with the healing process being slower.
Once you can tell us that you are close to or at 100%, we will begin to gradually put you on a maintenance program. What this means is that instead of coming back in a week, we will tell you to come back in two weeks. When we see you in two weeks, assuming you’re still feeling great and making progress, we’ll tell you to come back in three weeks. Then four weeks. Then six weeks. Then eight weeks. Then twelve weeks and so on.
For most patients who then feel 100%, we recommend coming once every 3-4 months for preventative care and health maintenance. This is based on the advice of the traditional Chinese medical texts. We also leave this to your discretion. We will not call you or harass you to come in for maintenance treatments.
Everyone’s 100% is unique
When we ask people how close they are to 100%, many times the person has no idea of what it’s like to be at 100% because they’ve felt lousy for so long that they can’t remember what it’s like to feel great.
So think back to the last time in your life when you felt great. Doesn’t matter how long ago it was. This is a time when you woke in the morning feeling refreshed from a good night’s sleep and had a good appetite and digestion. You then had more than enough energy to get through your day with a happy and positive attitude. You were pain free and did not think about any health issues. At the end of the day you were happy with what you accomplished and were looking forward to the next day.
That’s our idea of 100%! Even if the last time you felt this way was over 20 or 30 years ago, we’d like you to keep that standard in mind as the ultimate goal for your overall health. Yes, it is absolutely possible to regain your complete health no matter how long you’ve been sick. As long as you’re still breathing, we believe that the body has an infinite capacity to self-heal if given the right environment and stimuli….no matter what you’ve been told by “authorities”.
Now this standard of 100% is going to be subjective to each individual. A person who wants to live an active lifestyle and play sports like football is going to have a different idea of 100% than say a person who is content with just not being in a state of suffering and living a quiet life. We leave that standard to you and how much you want out of life. Our idea of 100% is having a body and mind that assists you in being able to express your personal dreams and goals instead of hindering them.
One Caveat: your body will dictate the order in which symptoms heal
Keep in mind the treatment philosophy at Natural Chinese Medicine: the treatments do not directly treat the health complaints that the patient has. What our treatment do, the ONLY thing our treatments do, is restore the ability of the body to heal itself by increasing the energy of the entire organism at a cellular/energetic level.
What this means is that we do not treat your symptoms directly, we treat your body’s ability to heal itself. This is based on the belief that your body’s innate healing abilities are superior to any doctor or healer. The job of the healer is to restore this self-repair mechanism in the patient, thus giving them true health and not allowing them to become dependent on any doctor or medicine.
So let’s say that you come to our clinic with 10 different health complaints (this is not unusual for us at all). Yet there is one specific complaint out of those 10 that you want to go away. Although that may be the complaint that YOU want to go away, your body may want to heal your symptoms in an order that differs from the main complaint that you have.
Here’s a good example. A few years ago a patient in his 60’s came to us with back pain. He had other health problems but did not want us to address them, he only wanted us to fix his back pain and nothing else. His son (who came with him) told us that his father also had congestive heart disease and often suffered from chest pain, dizziness, and difficulty breathing.
What do you think was causing more harm to this man’s body, the back pain or a failing heart?
After four visits the gentleman’s chest pain, dizziness, and breathing were over 50% better and his family noticed that he was not complaining nearly as much about his chest pain. But here’s the problem…his back pain was not any better and he was upset that the treatment was not affecting his back.
We explained to him that in our practice model we treat the entire body and not merely symptoms. His body was healing itself and would eventually get to healing the back problem after more important issues were addressed. If you think about it, if the heart is not working well and cannot pump enough blood to the lower back, of course there will be pain there due to the lack of circulation. So it makes sense that the body, in its wisdom, will heal the heart first so that the back can then get better.
This particular gentleman though, was not happy with that answer. He was used to the western medicine idea that the doctor’s office is like a restaurant and you “order what you want off of the menu”. Thankfully, his son understood the idea that we were healing his father’s total being and not just a symptom and persuaded his dad to keep coming for treatment.
After another two months of care his back pain was finally relieved after his chest pain, dizziness, and difficulty breathing was over 90% better. He is now not only pain free, but enjoys a much better quality of life now that his heart function has greatly improved.
So please keep this in mind as you go through your healing process with us. Your body will heal itself and your symptoms of poor health will lessen. You will become stronger in both body as well as mind. However we cannot control or dictate to the body what order this will happen in. This is because we let the body heal itself after we do what needs to be done to increase the amount of energy/vitality/Qi in the cells. All of your symptoms may get better gradually at the same time, or your body may choose one or two to at a time to focus on. Either way, you should notice significant improvements in your overall health and wellbeing during your time with us.