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Addictions Acupuncture (NADA protocol)

The treatment of addictions must be done under the supervision of a suitably qualified medical professional, such as a GP, psychiatrist or consultant (doctor).  The protocols described here can be used as an adjunct to this, if your doctor feels this is appropriate and are not an alternative to this.

The NADA, or National Acupuncture Detoxification Association protocol is a set of 5 acupuncture points on the ear (also known as auricular acupuncture), which has been used in medical settings and detoxification clinics since the 1970’s as an adjunct to many conditions involving addictions. Whilst the initial development was for substance abuse, it has latterly been used for food addiction and obesity (Chen at el, 2018); nicotine addicion / smoking (Leung, 2012) as well as trauma and PTSD (post traumatic stress, Cronin and Conboy, 2013), and disaster relief efforts (Cole and Yarberry, 2011; Yarberry, 2010).

Studies have shown that in combination with usual medical interventions for addiction, the NADA protocol can help reduce cravings, and improve the symptoms of depression, and anxiety, mood, headaches and body pains associated with substance withdrawal, as well as improve concentration and energy during the process (Carter et al, 2011; Stiyt et al, 2016).



Carter, K.O., Olshan-Perlmutter, M., Norton, H.J. and Smith, M.O., 2011. NADA acupuncture prospective trial in patients with substance use disorders and seven common health symptoms. Medical Acupuncture, 23(3), pp.131-135.

Chen, J.A., Chen, J.A., Lee, S. and Mullin, G., 2018. Potential role for acupuncture in the treatment of food addiction and obesity. Acupuncture in Medicine, 36(1), pp.52-55.

Cole, B. and Yarberry, M., 2011. NADA training provides PTSD relief in Haiti. Deutsche Zeitschrift für Akupunktur, 54(1), pp.21-24.

Cronin, C. and Conboy, L., 2013. Using the NADA Protocol to Treat Combat Stress-Induced Insomnia: A Pilot Study. Journal of Chinese Medicine, (103).

Leung, L., Neufeld, T. and Marin, S., 2012. Effect of self-administered auricular acupressure on smoking cessation–a pilot study. BMC complementary and alternative medicine, 12(1), p.11.

Stuyt, E.B. and Voyles, C.A., 2016. The National Acupuncture Detoxification Association protocol, auricular acupuncture to support patients with substance abuse and behavioral health disorders: current perspectives. Substance abuse and rehabilitation, 7, p.169.

Yarberry, M., 2010. The Use of the NADA Protocol for PTSD in Kenya. Deutsche Zeitschrift für Akupunktur, 53(4), pp.6-11.

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