People seeking treatment for addiction typically have a complex road to recovery. Everyone’s story is different, and people have different needs and respond to treatment in their own time and in their own way. What many people might not be familiar with are the supplemental therapies that can be used to help promote healing and recovery. One of those supplemental therapies is the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA) acupuncture protocol.
What is the NADA protocol?
The NADA protocol is different from traditional acupuncture in that traditional acupuncture uses the placement of needles in different points on the body and the NADA protocol is based on ear or auricular therapy. The needles are placed in five specific points on the ear while patients rest for approximately 30-45 minutes.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, the specific points referenced are:
- Kidney (promotes healing and eases fear)
- Liver (this ear point helps with blood purification and detoxification
- Lung (helps with the release of emotions and expands lung capacity)
- Shen Men (promotes detoxification, reduces pain, helps energize other acupuncture points)
- Sympathetic (helps manage the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches of the autonomic nervous system)
Another advantage to the NADA protocol is that it is often offered in group settings which makes it an affordable option for a lot of people looking for additional help in their recovery journey. The NADA provides training for a wide variety of people who deal with those in addiction recovery including addiction counselors, mental health therapists and social workers, police and correctional officers and those working in drug court, disaster relief teams and other trauma support center staff, first responders, nurses, and EMTs, as well as medical doctors and acupuncturists.
The NADA protocol has shown success in decreasing cravings for alcohol and drugs and can also be helpful in those struggling with gambling or even food addiction. In addition to addiction, the NADA protocol can also be used to help those who have suffered a traumatic event. One study demonstrated how this protocol helped people relax and sleep better after the traumatic events of September 11, 2001. The same results were found when it was used after hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.
Another study found that the NADA protocol helped improve the quality of life for those working through traditional treatment programs. Those receiving the protocol said they felt better about themselves and had more energy than those who hadn’t received the protocol. They also reported engaging in less alcohol or tobacco use during the study’s three- and six-month follow-up periods.
Those trained in the NADA protocol believe it is more successful for those receptive and committed to addiction treatment. As with anything, if the desire and willingness to get better isn’t there, the protocol won’t be successful. However, the side effects and risks are few, just like traditional acupuncture so those looking for a supplemental treatment option should consider the NADA protocol as a safe addition to their treatment options.
When combined with other treatment options such as group counseling, individual therapy and support groups, acupuncture can help those suffering from a substance addiction. When done with a trained professional, research has shown that acupuncture can help reduce cravings, increase patient retention in rehab, easy physical pain and withdrawal symptoms, help regulate sleep, and decrease anxiety and stress.