Auricular Acupuncture for Addiction

Auricular Acupuncture cover photo

NADA (National Acupuncture Detoxification Association) Protocol

According to the book Huangdi Neijing (ancient Chinese medical text), medical Auricular (ear) acupuncture therapy was recorded 500-300 B.C. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the ear is not considered to be a separate organ, but rather a microsystem connected to all meridian, glands, organs, and parts of the body. 

The father of auricular therapy Dr. Paul Nogier (1908-1996) noticed results in the 1950’s with patients and published his findings in 1957. Barefoot doctors in China verified Nogier’s findings and further studied over 2000 patients clinically.

In the mid-1970s, Michael Smith, a medical doctor at Lincoln Hospital in the South Bronx area of New York, modified an existing system of auricular acupuncture into a simple technique for the treatment of many common drug addictions as an alternative to methadone. This selection of ear points (Nada protocol) proved to be extremely effective in the treatment of addictions. NADA was founded in 1985.

The NADA protocol consists of five ear acupuncture points. The five points are specific for:

  • Calming the nervous system and help with overall relaxation.
  • Reduce anxiety and nervousness.
  • Calm fears and heal internal organs.
  • Detoxification, blood purification, and to soothe aggression.
  • Promote lung qi circulation and helps to let go of grief.

The Spirit of NADA creates a zone of peace within so patients can begin to experience their own inner strengths. Michael Smith

Treatment Plan

  • 10 sessions, as close together as possible.
  • The needles are retained for 45 minutes.

Clients often state they feel “energized”, “lighter” and “more relaxed” after a session.

Studies/ Benefits

Dozens of studies have documented the effectiveness of the NADA protocol; some of the benefits clients report, reduced cravings and anxiety, decreased sleep disturbances, more optimistic attitudes about detoxification and recovery, reduced need for pharmaceuticals.

Please Note

The NADA protocol does not replace medical treatment, client behavior and attitude, counselling, support groups, self-help programs; but acts as a complementary therapy as a tool to help in any detoxification program.

NADA Ear Acupuncture is Not the Same as Medical Acupuncture

Medical acupuncture is different than the NADA protocol. Not all NADA trained persons are trained in acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine.
The NADA protocol is Not the same as a full medical acupuncture treatment where a full assessment is done with body needling. The NADA protocol is tailored specifically for smoking cessation and most types of addiction and uses five ear acupuncture points on both ears. For other health concerns, a full assessment needs to occur and the duration of treatment changes and the cost is different due to the nature of the therapy. Ear acupuncture points may accompany body needling since the ear is a microsystem of the whole body and may help the overall treatment.

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