Auricular Acupuncture Addiction and Detoxification Treatments - NADA and ACACD

Auricular Theory

The National Acupuncture Detoxification Assocation auricular acupuncture protocol is used around the world to help people deal with and recover from substance abuse. The NADA protocol has been shown in a variety of clinical settings to be beneficial in the process of detoxification from substance abuse as well as to help with the emotional, physical and psychological attributes involved in addictions.

The detoxification protocols, in contrast with much of Chinese medicine, involve no diagnosis and are usually not modified in any way. Due to the fixed nature of the protocol, many localities allow non-acupuncturists to administer the auricular acupuncture treatments.

Generally speaking, the protocol is usually administered on its own without the addition of other ear or body acupuncture points. The length of the treatment depends greatly on the setting in which it is administered and the status of the patient. In general, the needles are left in for 25 - 60 minutes.

The treatments listed below are used in many detoxification/rehabilitation facilities.

National Acupuncture Detoxification Assocation (NADA) Treatment Protocol

What is the "NADA Protocol" (from the NADA Website)

"At five designated earpoints in each auricle (outer ear), NADA-trained clinicians apply fine gauge, sterilized, one-time use stainless steel needles just under the skin, where they remain for up to an hour while the patient (in most circumstances) relaxes quietly in a comfortable chair. Ordinarily, groups of patients sit together while undergoing the treatment. The procedure functions as an adjunct to a comprehensive addiction treatment program offering the basic therapeutic elements of counseling, education, family involvement, mutual support group involvement, supportive health care of a general nature. Patients in all types of treatment settings including inpatient, outpatient, incarcerated, shelters, harm reduction and street outreach can utilize this treatment. Among the benefits reported by patients and clinicians are improved program retention, a more optimistic and cooperative attitude toward the process of recovery, as well as reductions in cravings, anxiety, sleep disturbance and need for pharmaceuticals."

  • Lung 2 - addiction related lung issues
  • Shen Men - stress, anxiety, excessive sensitivity
  • Autonomic Point - balance symphathetic and parasymphathetic nervous systems, blood circulation
  • Liver - hepatitis, cirrhosis
  • C. Kidney - kidney disorders, urination issues


American College of Addictionology and Compulsive Disorders (ACACD) Treatment Protocol

  • Point Zero - general homeostatic balance
  • Shen Men - stress, anxiety, excessive sensitivity
  • Autonomic Point - balance symphathetic and parasymphathetic nervous systems, blood circulation
  • C. Kidney - kidney disorders, urination issues
  • Brain - pituitary gland, endocrine glands, addictions, sleep
  • Limbic System - aggressiveness, compulsive behavior


Sources and More Information

The information on our site is drawn from our own lecture notes and clinical experience. The following lecture notes were used within this section:

  • Harstein, Rachel: New England School of Acupuncture, Acupuncture Microsystems Lecture Notes

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