The introductory period is a time when you can evaluate the suitability of the IEP program for your needs and we can determine if your health conditions actually fit within the program goals. During this time, you will see whether you like acupuncture therapy, whether you can come to the clinic regularly with enough frequency to get the benefits of the program, and whether you can comply with the supplement protocols, which may be introduced after the second or third week. There are some temporary health problems that might be resolved within the six weeks, such as recovery from injury or surgery.
Primary Treatment Period: about three months
The primary treatment period is the time during which regular use of IEP services should yield the maximum results. This does not mean that you can’t get further improvement over additional time, but that the impact of the treatment methods has taken full effect. The first six-week evaluation is then extended by about six weeks. By the end of this three-month period, it is important for you to have already begun working on self-care methods to extend the impact of what we can accomplish: these include exercise, diet, stress reduction techniques, working with support groups, counseling, etc. Your goal is to be able to maintain the results you have gotten from our physical treatments and also (if possible) extend them further. In many cases, after three months, your condition may be maintained through self care and not require regular acupuncture.
Follow-up Treatment Period: about three to six months of additional treatment
There can be circumstances where a prolonged therapy is indicated, which our practitioner group can determine. The purpose of the extended treatment is to avoid relapse that might not be otherwise prevented by proper use of modern medicine and/or through the self-care methods mentioned above. Patients with disorders that are not curable and have a natural course of worsening or those who require prolonged medical treatments will usually continue for some time. However, many patients will have completed their regular visits to IEP within twelve months.
In China, after a course of intensive treatment with acupuncture and herbs, it is quite common to pursue a follow-up therapy relying mainly on herbs (as one of the self-care methods). When you have completed the primary (or follow-up) treatment period, we will usually advise you to reduce the frequency of your clinic visits, and then discontinue the visits to the clinic, while continuing (if desired) some supplements. In addition to recommendations that will be given by the practitioners, you can contact the Clinic Director (Subhuti) for additional advice (if possible, e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org).
Why Not Just Keep Coming to IEP?
We try to make IEP a welcoming, comfortable, and helpful place, so it is reasonable for you to consider simply making IEP visits a part of your weekly routine, even for years to come. The clinic visits can be considered good health maintenance and a way to treat various health concerns that arise: an allergy reaction or a cold, or a stiff neck. However, this ongoing activity, unless specifically recommended by the staff, defeats two of the primary purposes of the IEP program. First, IEP is primarily set-up to determine whether or not Chinese medicine can have a significant impact on the presented health condition; that determination is already made within the first few months; usually, nothing more is learned after that. Second, IEP provides valuable services to persons who have limited ability to pay. Each week, new patients apply to enter IEP, often facing a serious health crisis. This means that each week other patients must finish up their program; otherwise, the new patients can’t get in or can’t get the frequent treatment recommended to them so as to get the desired results. Ongoing therapy is, of course, available through private practitioners, including the IEP practitioners in their own practices, as well as through community clinics and college clinics. --Subhuti Dharmananda, Clinic Director