|Itinerary for a Therapeutic Journey at IEP
Introductory Period: about six weeks
The introductory period is a time when you can evaluate the suitability of the IEP program for your needs, and we can determine whether your health conditions fit within the program limitations.
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. Further, this should be enough time to learn whether the treatments have a truly noticeable effect on the health problems that are being addressed. Some people discover that IEP simply isn’t what they were seeking; in a few cases, we find that your health problems are too diverse or otherwise outside the realm of our intended target of therapy. So, this introductory phase allows everyone to make their evaluations.
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. By the end of this period, it is very 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’ve gotten and also (if possible) extend them further.
Follow-up Treatment Period: about three to six months
In China, it is rare for patients to pursue acupuncture for more than about three months. However, 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 use of modern medicine or through the self-care methods mentioned above. Most patients will have completed their regular visits to IEP within four to ten 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 well as 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.
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, about two new patients apply to enter IEP, often facing a serious health crisis, such as beginning chemotherapy or radiation for cancer, being recently diagnosed with HIV disease, or having developed a serious pain condition. This means that each week, about two patients must finish up their program; otherwise, the new patients can’t get in or can’t get the frequent treatment recommended to them in order 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 the college clinics.
—Subhuti Dharmananda, Clinic Director