In 1970s New York, a medical doctor named Michael Smith developed a simple acupuncture technique to treat people with drug addictions as an alternative to methadone. It turned out to be highly effective, not only for other addictions such as alcohol and smoking but also for treating anxiety and stress including PTSD.
In the original setting in the Bronx it was used in a group format to encourage support from other people having treatment and to help with feelings of isolation. At first just one acupuncture point was used, but over time the treatment has been developed and now involves the use of very tiny needles (sterile, single-use) in five specific points in the outer area of each ear.
A US organisation was formed to promote this procedure and to provide training: they are the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association, hence the name NADA Protocol. In addition to my Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) acupuncture training, I am also a trained NADA practitioner and offer this treatment at my clinic in Malvern.
“Dozens of studies have documented the effectiveness of the NADA protocol. Among the benefits reported by patients and health care providers are: improved retention in drug treatment programs; more optimistic attitudes about detoxification and recovery; reductions in cravings and anxiety; fewer episodes of sleep disturbance; and reduced need for pharmaceuticals.” Acupuncture Today
I use the technique as part of a range of therapies within the context of a holistic health plan. As a TCM practitioner, it is always my aim to treat the whole person, and not just a single issue or symptom.
Now, as well as for addiction recovery, NADA has been used to help with many kinds of stress and anxiety, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Patients say things like:
- It helps me to relax
- It helps me let go
- Eases tension from my body
- Gives me a sense of wellbeing.
- It makes me feel so calm
The protocol has also been used to aid trauma recovery within communities following major catastrophes. For example, NADA treatment was provided for local people after the Grenfell Tower tragedy by volunteer acupuncturists.
I have found that once someone has been treated with the NADA Protocol they usually find it very relaxing and have a sense of wellbeing. After the needles have been taken out, I can place ear beads that can be worn home on a few of the points for a more lasting effect.
To find out how the NADA Protocol could help you, get in touch for a free, no-obligation, confidential discussion of your options.