This is a question that many people want to know. It is a difficult one to answer because everyone is different and everyone responds differently to treatment. Factors that affect treatment are: the nature of the problem, patient age, patient health, patient chi (energy) levels, patient compliance to instructions given.
Needless to say, a person who is younger, has stronger chi and has better health will respond quicker to treatment and will require less treatment. A person who has not taken good care of themselves over the years, who has a poor diet and poor habits and has low chi levels, in addition to being hard headed and not wanting to follow instructions, will require more treatment.
General Rule of Thumb: If your problem just started, and you treat it early in the process, you should require less treatment. A 10 year problem will take about a year to fix. A 5 years old problem will take about half a year to fix.
Some problems can not be fixed. These will need to be managed. For example, if a patient is 70 years old and getting degenerative scoliosis of the spine, then don’t expect treatment to correct the scoliosis. The pain can be managed and the patient will need to do certain kinds of exercises to slow further degeneration. Regular acupuncture can also help reduce and manage the pain. Some conditions will benefit from takings herbs regularly.
A patient needs to have reasonable expectations. Don’t expect an acupuncturist to take care of a 20 year old problem in just a couple sessions. I always try to deliver quick noticeable results whenever possible, but there are limitations to what I can do and sometimes the patients body needs time to respond to treatment.