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  • Donna Nield L.Ac., MSTOM

Acupuncture to help overcome addiction!


Overcoming an addiction is one of the toughest things that any of us will ever do. From smoking to overeating to opioids, once an addiction takes root, it is not eradicated easily.While acupuncture cannot cure an addiction – really, nothing but determination by the individual can do that – there is an acupuncture treatment that has been proven to be effective in assisting the process. Auricular Acupuncture has been used successfully to treat the symptoms that accompany cessation: it uses the ear, which holds a place of tremendous importance in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

In the 1970s, the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA) developed a protocol for treatment that is still in use today. Needles are inserted at five points on the ear – targeting Kidney, Liver, Lung, Sympathetic, and Shen Men. That last one is a master point on the body, also referred to as the “Heavenly Gate,” that helps to reduce stress and anxiety.


An auricular session isn’t a substitute for a full-body acupuncture session but is meant to be a supplemental treatment. Sessions normally last for 30 minutes, with multiple treatments a week during the first few weeks when the effects of withdrawal are most prevalent.


It is these symptoms that the NADA protocol is designed to help with. For example, a common issue while trying to quit smoking – or really trying to change any addictive behavior – is the anxiety that comes with it: both physical, as the body tries to reset, and mental. The stimulation of the Shen Men lessens that stress. It also helps the body's efforts to detoxify while quitting smoking or tackling other substance abuse issues. The negative side effects that can go along with that effort (nausea, insomnia, irritability, etc.) are also lessened as part of the treatment.


Beyond the treatment of addictions, auricular points can help with chronic pain. A related method, Battlefield Acupuncture, has been touted by the military to help lessen the reliance on opioid pain medications for active duty personnel and veterans dealing with pain management. The power of the ear is not to be underestimated. If you’ve made the decision to change your life and quit smoking or stop using opioids, Auricular Acupuncture can help.


An auricular session isn’t a substitute for a full-body acupuncture session but is meant to be a supplemental treatment. Sessions consist only of ear points, last approximately 30 minutes and cost $20. During the early phase of quitting, you might need multiple sessions a week to help overcome the initial wave of withdrawal symptoms.


Our intention is to be available when you need help and the sessions are brief enough to keep from disrupting your day too much. There is no need to book for this session type, walk-in appointments are between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., Monday through Friday.


If you have questions about how Auricular Acupuncture can help with your specific situation, feel free to respond to this email or stop in and speak with a therapist. For more information, check out our latest blog post.

You’re the only one that can change your life, but we’re here to help you live the life that you want.

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