A topic of great interest and research is now in the field of addictions and withdrawals. This encompasses addictions to narcotics, nicotine, alcohol, and to aid in the recovery of withdrawal symptoms. A very effective and standardized treatment using acupuncture has been developed to combat these addictions, which has been termed the NADA protocol, as part of the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association. This system was developed in the mid-1970s by Dr. Michael Smith, MD, who while practicing medicine at the Lincoln Recovery Center in New York, altered a system of auricular acupuncture which created an alternative to methadone.
The NADA protocol and auricular acupuncture are now currently being taught to nurses in mental health facilities (such as CAMH, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health) and are being used abroad at relief centres of war torn countries.
The National Acupuncture Detoxification Association, a not-for-profit and advocacy organization was created from the discovery and encourages a community of wellness through this standardized acupuncture protocol. Not only helpful in healing drug addictions, but also healing behavioural health issues such as mental health, disaster and emotional traumas.
With a typical session using the NADA Protocol, both ears of the patient are needled at once, for 30 to 45 minutes. Given to patients in a group setting, it helps develop a level of support among patients and dissolves feelings of denial and isolation.
Some of the benefits that are known from using the NADA Protocol include; patients feeling optimistic in their path to recovery, a reduction in cravings and feelings of anxiousness, less sleep disturbances and need for pharmaceutical medications.