Acupuncture is a form of traditional oriental medicine that has been practiced in parts of Asia, particularly in China, for over 2,000 years. For all that time, acupuncture has used a specific textbook, and that continues to be used today. The theory behind it is that there is a correlation between different parts of an individual’s body where energy flows, and the body’s ability to support health functions. Acupuncture, in this country, is a licensed practice and there are numerous schools where people can be trained in it.
There are a number of other oriental healing methods that are based on the same principles. These include reflexology, acupressure, shiatsu, Reiki, and Qi Gong. There is even micro-acupuncture, which focuses on certain small parts of the body, in the belief that such parts are correlated to the restorative, balancing functions of the body. Micro-acupuncture usually focuses on areas such as the ear, scalp, hands, and feet.
Using Acupuncture for Addiction Treatment
There are over 2,000 different alcohol and drug addiction treatment programs in this country, as well as in some 40 other countries, that have included ear acupuncture as part of their treatment protocol. This came after the Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx, New York City, completed a 35-year piece of research during which over 100 treatments of acupuncture were done daily as part of their comprehensive alcohol and drug addiction program. From this, the Miami Drug Court was started, which based itself on the Lincoln experience.
What we now know is that acupuncture creates an excellent foundation for psycho-social rehabilitation and, ultimately, recovery. Substance abuse programs use it as a treatment to support their patients. Additionally, it helps recovering patients become ready to re-enter the workforce. In fact, acupuncture has a number of specific characteristics that make it function so well. These are:
1. The fact that it is good for patients resistant to conventional treatment because it is a non-verbal type of intervention
2. The fact that it helps to lower levels of agitation and anxiety, while reinforcing the importance of receptive and calm behavior
3. The fact that it helps people create a meditative core, even if they are truly troubled and afraid
Ear Acupuncture and the NADA Protocol
The vast majority of treatment programs focus on ear acupuncture. Usually, patients sit in large groups where they are completely quiet for a 45 minute period. This is known as the NADA (National Acupuncture Detoxification Association) protocol. Various jurisdictions across the country have created laws that enable various clinicians to become trained in the NADA protocol, delivering the treatment in state sponsored facilities. Each of these clinicians is fully licensed.
Some states, including California and Florida, have not yet adopted the NADA protocol and therefore also have very few programs where acupuncture is offered. But in states like New York, Texas, and Virginia, the protocols have been fully adopted. By becoming NADA trained and licensed, a clinician understands the necessary sterile precautions that have to be adopted, and how the treatment fits in with those offered by social services. To become licensed, they must also complete an apprenticeship.
Over the past decade or so, the NADA protocol has expanded tremendously. After Hurricane Katrina and 9/11, for instance, it was also used. In fact, many fire departments now have it as standard for their staff. In the United Kingdom, some 130 different prisons use the protocol, with correctional officers being trained to deliver the treatment. This has shown, in some locations, an 80% reduction of violent crimes. In India, meanwhile, it is used to help prevent suicidal thoughts and stress in military personnel.
Psychiatric hospital care in Europe has changed completely thanks to NADA. There are some 3,000 nurses across 100 different facilities who have used it. They have reported that the number of benzodiazepine prescriptions has been reduced dramatically. It is also used in war torn areas and refugee camps.
Magnetic Beads for Ear Acupuncture
Meanwhile, any children and particularly those with ADHD, night tremors, autism spectrum disorders, violent behavior, and bed wetting, have been treated using magnetic beads. The Philippines, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Germany, and the U.S. have all reported that this treatment has been very beneficial. The technique is currently being evaluated to see if it can help with more problematic behavior.
Ear acupuncture is now available across almost every drug and alcohol rehab center. It is inexpensive and completely safe and has proven positive results. The field of psychiatry is currently looking into how it can also be used. Almost all research in the subject have been completed within the public sector, thereby ensuring that they are unbiased.