1973 Dr. H. L. Wen – a neurosurgeon in Hong Kong – observed that electrical stimulation of auricular acupuncture points used for analgesic effect also alleviated the withdrawal symptoms of opium addiction in one of his patients. He tested this technique on other patients and it continued to be effective. In 1974, physiciatrist Dr. Michael Smith, already involved with a methadone maintenance program for addicts at Lincoln Memorial Hospital, New York City -became aware of Dr. Wen’s findings. Dr. Smith continued to refine the protocol through experimentation, ultimately settling on the five points that would become the Acu Detox protocol.
The five points in each ear help ease cravings and the emotional roller coaster of addiction and withdrawal, and also provide potent treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. The five-needle protocol treats sleep disturbances, depression, and anxiety, often achieving instant results.
The process involves the gentle insertion of up to five fine, single use, sterilised, stainless steel disposable needles into specific energetic points in the outer ear. No electrical stimulation is used.
The five ear points:
- Sympathetic – calms the nervous system and helps with overall relaxation.
- Shen Men / “Spirit Gate” – reduces anxiety and nervousness.
- Kidney Point – for calming fears and healing internal organs.
- Liver Point – for detoxification, blood purification, and to quell aggression.
- Lung Point – promotes aeration and helps clients let go of grief.
The outer ear acts like a switchboard that sends impulses to the brain, which stimulate the release of endorphins, lowers stress and induces relaxation.
The NADA protocol has been shown to help clients with the following:
- Reduction of craving for the substance including prescription drugs
- A ‘clearer mind’ which promotes receptive rational thinking and therefore enhances the benefits of counselling and the group experience
- Reduction of withdrawal symptoms
- Improved sleep patterns
- Improvement of health problems which often accompany long term alcohol and drug misuse
- Marked relaxation, a feeling of well being