Acupuncture for Addiction

This season can be a particularly positive time in regards to detoxifying the body, especially since the season of spring is associated with the Liver system. According to Acupuncture Today, there are currently 5000 National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA)-trained clinicians worldwide, and more than 800 programs within the United States.

Since 1974, when the first US acupuncture detoxification clinic opened at the Lincoln Memorial Hospital in the South Bronx, acupuncture has steadily increased in popularity as a treatment for many addictions, ranging from drug and alcohol dependency to less serious addictions involving smoking and overeating.

Clinical evidence shows that acupuncture works very well to control addictions and curb cravings and behavioral issues without any side effects. It is considered a preferable way to bring relief from withdrawal symptoms and promote relaxation and improved sleep. Acupuncture helps raise the level of endorphins, the same “feel-good” chemicals released during exercise that also act as the body’s natural painkillers. Patients have reported experiencing a very calming effect and a feeling of peace and well-being. Being in a positive frame of mind helps patients deal with the mental, emotional and physical obstacles that arise during their recovery. Rather than treat symptoms in the way, say, methadone does, acupuncture addresses the deeper imbalances in the body and work with the root problems, detoxifying the body of chemicals that trigger additive behavior.

An acupuncturist treats points outside the ear to nourish yin, the cooling, nurturing fluids of the body, by inserting short, thin, sterile needle at three to five points. The patients then sit or lie comfortably for about forty-five minutes. Three of these five points help to strengthen the liver, kidneys, and lungs, organs that are often most damaged in addicts, due to the high-volume stress of eliminating toxins from the body. Patients addicted to hard drugs are advised to receive daily treatment until clean and then gradually scale back to a few times to week to help them remain so. Alcoholics also need daily treatments at the beginning of their recovery.

However, it is important to realize that while acupuncture is part of recovery, no one type of treatment cures all addictions for all individuals. Patients are encouraged to build a supportive network of help, including practices such as psychiatric treatment and group therapy.


Image courtesy of

Leave A Comment