hampshirehope@northamptonma.gov  (413) 587-1219

Acupuncture for Substance Abuse & Detox

Acu-Points message from Northampton Community Acupuncture
Acupuncture for Substance Abuse
& Detox:
NADA Protocol

Acupuncture is an effective way to treat substance abuse and addiction. Patients seek help for addictions to a variety of things, including but not limited to: drugs, alcohol, food, medication or certain behaviors that inhibit their quality of life.

The acupuncturist will ask a variety of questions, assessing the overall health and wellness of the individual. The questions may not necessarily seem relevant, but are important, helping the acupuncturist formulate a treatment plan  tailored to the individual’s needs. They may ask questions related to sleeping patterns, digestion, energy, anxiety and mood.

In these cases, acupuncturists utilize ear acupuncture, or ‘auricular acupuncture’ and a standard of treatment.  Acupuncturists refer to this standard as the NADA (National Acupuncture Detox Association) protocol. There are hundreds of points to choose from in auricular acupuncture, but for this certain detox protocol,
five points are needled.
This protocol is found to be simple and extremely effective. small needles are inserted into the points on the outer surface of the ear, corresponding to the
lungs, liver, kidneys
and nervous system.
For best results, needles are left in for approximately 30 to 45 minutes. It is recommended to have as many as a few treatments per week, as increased frequency of treatment with the NADA protocol is very important in the beginning stages.
Once a patient is considered stable, acupuncture is also extremely useful in relapse prevention. A recommended treatment plan will be given based on each individual.

The NADA protocol allows a patient to relax, treating the whole person; including the emotional, physical and psychological attributes that are often involved in addiction.

Additionally and most importantly, it helps to reduce cravings and symptoms of withdrawal, which is particularly important in the beginning stage of detoxification or behavior management, as symptoms are most prominent and acute.

The NADA protocol is most often provided in a group setting, where patients are given just this protocol, with no detailed assessment or further treatment plan. They are provided quiet and comfort, with plenty of space to relax.

This dynamic allows for the support of other people, as everyone is relaxing in the room together and given the exact same treatment.

For many of you that are familiar with Northampton Community Acupuncture, we are in a group setting, by nature.

We often treat patients who are struggling with addiction and substance abuse, utilizing the NADA protocol, in addition to other treatment points and strategies to take a comprehensive approach in improving their overall health.
For more information on the NADA protocol, please visit:


Categories: Hampshire HOPE