Acupuncture and Addiction
In the early 70s, acupuncture was first used in addiction recovery to reduce the stress addicts were experiencing during recovery, while simultaneously reducing addiction cravings. The addiction community’s work in the 70s was later combined with the traditional methods of Chinese medicine, focusing on management of chronic pain, to create the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA). This association established the guidelines for building a successful practice of acupuncture based on specific pressure points localized in the ear. Enlightened Solutions has embraced this complementary therapy to broaden our spectrum of holistic treatments in serving individuals with substance use disorders.
Alternative methods such as acupuncture build upon the hope that recovery from addictive substances and behaviors is possible. Clients experiencing detox, withdrawal, and post-acute withdrawal symptoms often feel discomfort and have difficulty sleeping. The introduction of acupuncture during this critical initial step of recovery, we can dramatically assist reducing cravings and some of the strong withdrawal symptoms, as well as reduce feelings of distress. Additionally, acupuncture can help induce complete relaxation. During acupuncture sessions, many therapists observe clients becoming so relaxed they often fall asleep. In the beginning stages of recovery, sleep deprivation is one of the more common complaints, therefore, complete relaxation is beneficial.
How Acupuncture Works
Studying the ancient art of Chinese medicine, we look to the balance of nature to bring that Yin and Yang into ourselves. Acupuncture clicks into the lack of Yin within us, and those with addiction suffer from this imbalance in addition to the many other aspects that we address in treatments. It’s theorized that the more out of balance we are with the Yin and Yang, the more our need to abuse substances is substantially increased. During acupuncture treatments, each client will sit back comfortably in a chair and treatment will begin. The acupuncturist will apply needles to five pressure points on both sides of the ears in a process that takes approximately 45 minutes to complete.
What are the five points we focus on in acupuncture for addiction?
The NADA concentrates on five points in the ear as they connect to the central systems that react in stress responses, or those related to the sympathetic nervous system. Targeting these five points will reduce the overactive responses to anxiety and extreme stress that create this need for addiction.
- Autonomic Point: A small needle inserted into this pressure point will relax your nerves and calm your system.
- Shen Men: This is where we connect with your spirit to relieve any anxiety and nervous responses. Addiction creates chronic anxiety and stress reactions.
- Kidney Point: The kidney is vital to your system, so we use this point to promote healing of your organs as well as complete serenity.
- Liver Point: Your liver is responsible for removing harsh toxins from the body and purifying your blood. In detox or shortly after, we use this point to support this purification and to calm mood swings, anger, aggression, and aggravation.
- Lung Point: In mindfulness and meditation exercises, we focus on the breath and how it moves through the body. This point will help increase the strength of your breath and cleanse the body with extra oxygen; for those holding fast to loss and grief from that loss, this will help them achieve peace.
Benefits of Acupuncture:
- Inner peace
- Improved sleep
- Lessens mood changes during detox
- Reduced cravings
- Improved circulation
- Improved mood, happiness, and joy
- Promotes energy
- Calms emotional trauma
- Allows people to let go of their emotional distress