Slow Medicine: How long do I need treatment?

The wound is the place where the light enters you. ~Rumi

By far, one of the questions I get asked most frequently is how long or how many treatments it will take to see results with acupuncture or how long herbs will be needed. While I have a clear foundation and explanation that follows, I often feel that it’s not being fully received or understood.

The Basics

I usually explain that while you might experience benefits after your first treatment, it is more likely that you will really notice a difference after several treatments. For acute, painful conditions that are not as long standing that could be about six to ten treatments. For more chronic conditions and especially in the realm of women’s health, emotional well-being, hormonal balance and fertility, that is a minimum of three months of consistent care.

I am constantly expanding my capacity to have more authentic and effective communication with the women I work with. I’m not perfect and I know there will continue to be evolution in this explanation. AND I recognize that I’m asking women to change their orientation and perception of how medicine works. This is no easy task.

What we’re up against

In the age of fast, efficient and “I want it now,” we have all embraced the idea of quick fixes to some degree. Myself included. Western medicine in large part excels at ridding the body of the symptoms of dis-ease quickly. Yet the dis-ease itself remains, now hidden. Which is something that many are still struggling to understand. This is part of the bridge I’m trying to build, so we can all cross the other side for a new perspective on medicine and healing.

Acupuncture, herbal medicine and many other alternative therapies, ask the body to assimilate information and initiate deep healing from inside out. Of course, this can include reducing any immediate symptoms you have; however, generally speaking this process requires time and most importantly patience.

Waking up to slow medicine

Just as in recent years there has been increasing interest in movements like “slow food” and sustainable farming practices, I think we are also on the brink of a “slow medicine” movement. There are many already living this idea of slow medicine and embodying the concept that lasting healing takes time.

So many people who end up seeking alternative or integrative healthcare, are doing so because they have not found the support or healing that they desire. There is some disillusion around many modern medical approaches, especially in the field of women’s health. This is unfortunate, as my hope for the future is that we all see these “alternatives” as medicine just as much as western biomedicine.

A few roadblocks along the way

There is a disconnect that happens when those seeking acupuncture, herbal medicine, nutritional counseling, chiropractic, or other modalities, come with the same expectations they had or still have for western medicine. Take a pill, see a benefit. Get a surgery, end the pain. Of course, these are very basic examples, but really this mode of thinking is so deeply engrained in western-centric cultures that it leaves little space for shifting perspectives.

What is slow medicine?

Slow medicine is less prescriptive or linear. It’s not about how fast you can get from point A {dis-ease} to point B {vibrant health}. It’s really about all the small steps that you take to get there and the transformation that happens along the way.

It’s about the nervous system re-learning how to down-regulate and rid the body of stress hormones. It’s about the digestive system gaining strength to assimilate nutrients. It’s about changing your diet, prioritizing rest, practicing daily movement, being in nature and finding body-based therapies that work for you in all your uniqueness.

Our collective obsession with quick results and seeing pain as something to run away from is keeping us from embracing slow medicine, deep seated healing and lasting change.

So, how long do you need treatment?

The real answer, I don’t know. I have some ideas from my experience and education, but in many ways it’s really up to you. It’s up to your willingness to embrace a new perspective, make changes, commit to your healing journey and believe in the power of slow medicine.

I hope this inspires your inquiries around healing, alternative options and embracing a slower, more intentional pace! If you found this helpful or inspiring, please take the time to share so more of us can cross the bridge to greater health!

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