It is important to note that everyone responds differently to treatment and so it is often difficult to be specific about how many treatments are necessary. A good rule of thumb is that the more chronic a problem is, the longer the course of treatments. Likewise, the more serious the condition is, the more frequent the treatments should be. Lastly, acupuncture is as much a system of prevention as it is a cure. So regular treatments, whether weekly, monthly, or seasonally, are sometimes recommended for maintenance of overall well being.
In general, we tell patients they should start to feel the benefits from acupuncture within 2 to 3 treatments. If the problem is acute, sometimes improvement is felt after the first treatment, and may only require 2 to 3 more treatments to resolve. But if the problem is chronic, it may take more treatments to fully resolve the issue.
Typically patients are treated once a week. If the condition is acute and painful, treatments should be twice a week for the first couple of weeks or at least until the symptoms are under control. Then treatments can be spread out to address the chronic nature of the root cause of your condition.
The benefits of acupuncture treatments have a compounding effect and tend to sustain for longer periods of time as you receive more treatments. What can happen is that you will require fewer treatments or less frequent treatments. After a successful course of treatments, you may only come in periodically for maintenance or to address other conditions that were not as problematic.