At the Australian Acupuncture Centre (AAC), we structure our consultations around an idea we have called the 3 phases of recovery.

The symptomatic phase

The asymptomatic phase, and

The resolution phase

The symptomatic phase

During the symptomatic phase of recovery, a patient will present at clinic complaining of various symptoms. The practitioner’s goal during this phase is to learn what the problem is, discern the cause of the problem and to choose the treatment plan that eradicates the symptoms as quickly as possible. An important question that will be asked during this phase is ‘What is the correct dose of acupuncture required to control these symptoms quickly?’

As a general rule of thumb, the dose of acupuncture delivered during the symptomatic phase of recovery is something like 2 to 3 consultation per week, applied for a period of several weeks to several months (depending on the severity of the condition). Of course, some conditions will require more frequent consultation and others will require a little less. The basic idea here is, that in order to overcome the momentum of the pathological process, frequent consultation is required.

Now, 2 to 3 acupuncture consultations a week might sound a little excessive. The thing to keep in mind however, is that, though your symptoms might be controlled during session, and might remain reduced for a period of time after your consultation, the early stages of the symptomatic phase of recovery almost always see symptoms begin to re-emerge within 1-3 days. If you are a little confused about the idea of acupuncture dosing, you can read more about it here.

The asymptomatic phase symptom control

Once a patient reports being symptom free for more than 2 to 4 consultations consecutively, they can be considered asymptomatic. At this stage it may be possible to reduce the frequency of treatment but it is important to recognise that the physiological scenario that allowed the symptoms to emerge in the first place has probably not yet been fully resolved. This is especially true of chronic conditions. For this reason, if treatment is discontinued during this phase it is quite possible that symptoms will re-emerge at some time in the near future.

To prevent the re-emergence of symptoms during the asymptomatic phase of recovery, the dose applied at AAC is usually 1 treatment a week for several weeks, followed by once fortnightly for a period of time.


The resolution phase of recovery is reached when results hold even when acupuncture consultation is applied infrequently (e.g., once monthly or less) and the patients has returned to their usual activities without experiencing re-emergence of symptoms. At this point, patients may discontinue treatment or continue with infrequent treatment and expect that symptoms will not re-emerge. Please note: if the diet, exercise and lifestyle factors that contributed to or caused the symptoms to occur in the first place are not modified, then patients can expect that symptoms will re-emerge at some point in the future.

If you would like to find out more about the 3 Phases of Recovery, please contact the clinic on 03 5298 1213. Alternatively, you can email us on or pop in to Shop 3 / 153 Shannon Ave, Manifold Heights, VIC 3218 for a chat.

Thanks for reading,


MPET; B. A. (Hons); B. H. Sc. (Acu); Ad. Dip. App. Sc. (Acu);

Dip. Rem. Mass.; Dip. Rem. Therap;

Member AACMA 1332; Registered Acupuncturist (AHPRA)

Paul McLeod is a AHPRA registered acupuncturist in Geelong, Victoria, offering drug-free management of a wide variety of medical conditions. Paul has been studying and practicing acupuncture and Chinese medicine for more than 22 years and has a wealth of experience treating many forms of pain, including muscular-skeletal pain, nerve pain, digestive pain and gynaecological pain. Paul is a very experienced teacher with a passion for sharing his knowledge of Chinese medicine with the community.

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