Addiction Treatment with  Auricular Acupuncture  

Auricular Acupuncture detoxification is a modality that assists recovery in many ways.


Auricular Acupunctures  biochemical action assists endorphin production for capacity to cope with stress and cravings.

It assists the body's natural detoxification and chemical production to relieve withdrawal, craving, and other post-acute withdrawal symptoms.

- Psychologically  auricular acupuncture  acts as a balancing component of an overall treatment program. Physical and mental issues addressed, no longer just psychosocial strategies.

- Clients internal resources are strengthened for enhanced sense of vitality and well-being.

- Helps the individual strengthen their acceptance of the potential to stay clean.

- Client can experience internal relief from craving without external factors.

- As for the social aspect, it lets the client engage in treatment in a non-threatening way with few verbal commands. Important in early treatment when client may not be receptive to interventions.

- Client participates meaningfully in a peer support group from the beginning.

- While acupuncture detoxification creates vitality and strength, peer support allows nurturing.

- Anxious and suspicious client sits quietly, safely and benefits in a group setting.

- It supports the counseling process.


Staff are cast in a "friendly" vs. adverse role without compromising program.

- Produces cheerful and cooperative atmosphere, reduces violence and conflict.

- Client is calmer and more focused for participation in the counseling process.

- Easy re-entry for relapsing addicts.


Auricular Acupuncture  is especially effective for clients who:

 - May not be receptive initially to verbal counseling due to use or withdrawal.

- Are in denial and need to become more accepting of the need to be drug free.

- Are in emotional distress, i.e. anxiety, depression, acute or post-acute withdrawal.

- Need a simple non-threatening yet structured opportunity to begin coping with chemical issues engaging in a more formal treatment program.

- It supports the administrative processes. Ordinary legal and/or security measures are not needed for this safe procedure. - Rapid, inexpensive, and does not require a medical setting.

- Very cost effective.

- Fits well into existing treatment facilities, only needs a small convenient space.

- Barrier free. No waiting and possible client loss. On demand.

- Extensive history often not necessary, saving time, paper, and effort.

- Confrontation or corroboration of information is often not needed to begin.

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What are the unique benefits of auricular acupuncture for addiction ?

Effective across all addictive substances. Outcome and anecdotal clinical reports indicate effectiveness with the commonly used addictive substances and combinations of substances. Other interventions often only target specific drugs of choice.

- Effective throughout the treatment and recovery process. Originally developed for detoxification, the NADA (National Acupuncture Detoxification Association Inc.) protocol has since shown efficacy when used in pre-treatment harm reduction settings, throughout stages of treatment, and as a relapse prevention/support intervention. It is consistent with 12 step recovery.

- Effective along the continuum of care. It has successfully been integrated with a wide range of addiction treatment models, including those utilizing medications.

- Accessible to men and women and adolescents. Accessible cross-culturally.

- Treats the whole person, body, mind, emotions, spirit, just as addiction impairs the whole person.

- It has a comprehensive, not compartmentalized effect.

- It is non-verbal and non-performance.

- Most other treatment interventions are both.

- It elicits immediate and long term effects. With the exception of medications administered, few treatment processes yield any immediate relief to the suffering

-most offer promises of future improvement. - It has few contraindications and adverse reactions. It is non-addictive.

- It is simple and flexible and inexpensive.

- It can be easily integrated into treatment settings.

- It improves treatment relationships.

- It improves the treatment environment and outcomes.

- It relieves staff stress. It is paradoxically even more effective with the clients who are the hardest to treat. Effective intervention for persons who are pregnant, dually diagnosed, chronic, criminal justice mandated, violent, etc.

- It is consistent and relatively safe.

- It is balancing and not-symptom, syndrome dependent.

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The Psycho-Social characteristics of the NADA protocol

  It is a non-verbal process.The treatment will be just as helpful if the patient lies to us.

- The treatment will be just as helpful if the patient is ashamed to speak about certain issues. - Patients will be able to learn about themselves and process.

- The patient can be engaged in helpful treatment even before they are able to tolerate intense or personalized one to one interactions comfortably. Needy, fearful patients can be engaged in treatment before they can tolerate a bonding relationship with staff.

- Paranoid, antagonistic patients are able to accept help to accept help in spite of their lack of trust.

- Patients with low self-esteem and a lack of hope can begin their treatment participation at a reaisticlevel.

- Patients who are also trauma victims will be able to participate in treatment even though they are fearful of interpersonal relations.

- Hence a much wider selection of patients can be introduced to substance abuse treatment.

- Auricular Acupuncture provides a solution to some of the paradoxical problems in addiction treatment. Patients can be treated before assessment and diagnosis are completed so that the patient can be calm cooperative enough for a useful diagnosis to be made.

- Confrontation about drug use is not necessary because a patient can be helped even while they are in denial about the need for treatment.

- It is possible to provide kind, soothing, attention without the risk of enabling the addictive process.

- Developing trust between the therapist and patient is much easier.

- The patient can relax without losing control.

- Indeed, the whole program can relax without losing control.

- Acupuncture helps the development of a meditation-like state. Patients become comfortable with their own thoughts.

- Patients become comfortable with their own physical processes.

- Patients learn to to let go of tension and preoccupations.

- Patients develop their win spatial comfort zone.

- Patients learn that their private, internal process can be a source of strength and renewal.

- Patients are able to remain comfortable while focused on present time activities.

- The calm stability in the acupuncture setting creates a relatively timeless process. There is much less pressure to improve according to guilt-related standards.

- Auricular acupuncture treatment in a group setting creates an environment which is reassuring and validating. As therapists, we are welcome to join this setting. We are able to be supportive witnesses for the patients own development.

- Hence patients learn, and remember without being overwhelmed by distractions.


- In summary, acupuncture helps patients participate in individual and group treatment sessions more effectively.

- There are two components to auricular acupuncture treatment. A balancing process occurs almost immediately so that the patient is more receptive to the message of the treatment.

- Very anxious patients usually fall asleep during acupuncture. -

 Tired, apathetic patients report and increased sense of vitality during and immediately after with treatment.

- Most people experience a relaxing and centering feeling.

- As the number of treatment sessions increases, the patient will feel relatively harmonious most of the time.

- Hence, experienced, successful patients will no longer fall asleep during sessions. These patients will also not need to have acupuncture as frequently to gain the same effect.

- An outside observer might believe that acupuncture is less effective when the patient no longer falls asleep during the session. It is important to understand that just the opposite is the case. Acupuncture treatments become more effective as time passes.


The phenomenon of tolerance which is so typical in pharmaceutical medicine is not present with acupuncture.

- The actual  message component of an acupuncture treatment often has a delayed onset of several hours.

- As the patient becomes more balanced and receptive, this message becomes more effective over a longer period of time.

- Defining the mechanism of acupuncture as relief is a serious misunderstanding. Stress is usually someone elses fault so that treating the victim of stress can only be temporary at best

- like giving a child ice cream after the dentist.

- All of our patients know that alcohol, heroin, cocaine, and other substances are excellent  treatments for stress!

- Acupuncture is valuable because it helps the patient prepare for the future, not merely cope with the past.

- We should judge the value of an acupuncture session, but rather by how well prepared the patients are for counseling, groups, and other challenges.

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