NADA Protocol for Auricular Acupuncture

NADA

NADA is an acronym that stands for National Acupuncture Detoxification Association, founded by a group of specialists led by Dr. Michael Smith with the aim of promoting the integration of certain protocol for addiction treatment.

NADAIt all started in the 70s when Dr. Smith at the Lincoln Hospital, South Bronx of New York developed a simple technique of treating common drug addiction by modifying the established auricular acupuncture common then. Through this work, it became an alternative to the use of methadone. Individual ear points were identified and were found to be useful in the treating addiction, and this treatment is known as the NADA protocol.

NADA as an organization has pushed for the use of standardized auricular acupuncture protocol to improve behavioral health in the areas of mental health, addictions, and trauma regardless of is it emotional or a disaster. This they have been doing through the promotion of practices and policies that will improve access and efficiency of care. NADA model seeks to combine their type of treatment with other western medical procedure in behavioral health.

NADA PROTOCOL

The NADA protocol is also called the following: five-point protocol, 5NP, acupuncture detoxification, five point ear acupuncture protocol, acudetox.

At the inception of NADA, the protocol adopted includes the use of electrical stimulation on the lung point around the ear of the patient. Later on, studies showed that instead of electrical stimulation, a manual needling of the Lung point produced a more lasting effect. Furthermore, the protocol included Shen Men, an ear point associated with a relaxing sensation. Progress years after led to the addition of other points due to different conditions and factors such as pain resistance and sensitivity.

THE NADA TREATMENT

The treatment is a simple procedure that takes just a few minutes. It starts by the insertion of a thin needle into each ear, and the patient sits calmly for the next 30 minutes in the dim acupuncture room in absolute quietness.  Treatment handled by NADA trained individuals use about five fine-gauge, sterilized needles which are disposed of after singular use. These needles are applied at designated point of each ear and left in these positions 30 to 45 minutes.

Patients are treated on all 5 points of the ear with the option of choosing which point they want for each day. Pregnant women receive treatment only on two points, Shen Men and Lung. The five points where needles are applied are:

–    Shen Men: It is also known as the spirit gate which is responsible for reducing anxiety and nervousness.

–    Lung point: it helps aeration

–    The Kidney point: this is for calming fears and the healing of internal organs.

–    Autonomic point: it calms the nervous system causing a deep relaxation

–    Liver Point: it helps in detoxification, calms aggression and purifies the blood.

Unlike other treatments where patients are treated individually, NADA protocol involves treating a group of people together and thereby builds support among those treated eliminating isolation. This form of therapy offers other therapeutic services in the treatment package such as counseling, family help, education, a support group which is mutual. This treatment can be applied to various patients from inpatient, outpatient, incarcerated, harm reduction and street outreach.

All patients are given equal treatment, and this erases any feeling of neglect and also helps the practitioner administer treatment to more patients in an ample time. This protocol offers more flexibility to the patients.

BENEFITS OF NADA PROTOCOL

–    Patients treated have reported a better sense of wellness as many report better energy and agility, feel more relaxed and lighter after treatment.

–    It also prepares patients for the next step of detoxification as NADA protocol provides them with the right supportive environment. This makes it easier for practitioners in giving instruction on dos and don’ts.

–    Studies have shown improved retention in drug treatment programs and better attitudes, reducing in affinity for drugs and less anxiety, lessened sleep disturbance, and dependence on pharmaceuticals.

–    Also, patients have been more optimistic and cooperative toward recovery.

NADA protocol is perfect when other components of detoxification are put in place. The behavior of the patient including his or her attitude goes a long way to determining the effectiveness of the program. The right perception of treatment is essential for the success of treatment. Counseling, support groups, and self-help make the overall success of treatment achievable.

At the Philadelphia Addiction Center, Dr. Tsan and his associates are certified NADA practitioners. We use NADA in most complicated clinical cases as well as in cases of addiction. This protocol is the essential part of “Stop Smoking” and “Alcohol Addiction” treatments.