Holistic practices and alternative modes of therapy are becoming the norm in addiction treatment centers globally. Whether one is involved in an inpatient or outpatient model of recovery, homeopathic services are generally made available. Acudetox is just one of the innovative and natural ways that addicts currently can experience and overcome the process of detoxification from drugs and alcohol dependence.
In Chinese medicine, acupuncture is the stimulation of “Qi” (pronounced chee), by the insertion of needles into “meridians” or vein-like routes under the surface of the skin. Acudetox therapy is a form of acupuncture that has two protocol formats: ACACD treatment protocol (American College of Addictionology and Compulsive Disorders) and the NADA treatment protocol, established by the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association.
The phenomena of craving one’s drug of choice or alcohol are all too powerful, especially in the infancy stages of recovery. The internal battle that transpires within addicts can many times create a large barrier detaching the individual from properly processing and retaining the tools needed to remain clean and sober. Retention is one of the best predictors of successful outcomes in addiction treatment.
NADA (Acudetox or the NADA protocol was developed in 1974 by Dr. Michael Smith and is currently in use in many of the rehabilitation centers throughout the United States) acudetox is a five-point auricular (outer portion of the ear) acupuncture method that applies fine gauged, sterilized, one-time-use stainless steel needles just below the skin, where they remain for up to an hour while the patient relaxes in a comfortable environment.
ACACD auriculotherapy uses no needles and instead of “meridians” applies micro-currents to stimulate nerve connections. Micro-currents are placed on reflex points on the outside area of the ear that send messages to the brain based on the location of the reflex point receiving treatment. Patients claim to feel only light tingling sensations at the point of relax on the ear.
The points of reflex for Acudetox are known as: Shen Men (Spirit Gate), Sympathetic (Autonomic Nervous System), Kidneys, Live and the Lungs. The role of endorphins involved in this therapy is that it serves to relieve pain in a manner similar to external opiate chemicals. Basically the stimulation of ear acupuncture points appears to cause the systemic release of endorphins. Comprehensive rehabilitation programs are used in conjunction to acudetox offering the basic therapeutic elements of family therapy and involvement, in addition to intensive counseling, education and 12 step forums.
Ailments of addiction withdrawal are assumed to be treatable by stimulation of the surface of the ear exclusively. Similar mapping by either protocols mentioned are not based on or supported by any scientific or medical evidence, are also the basis for such alternative therapies as reflexology. Although there is no tangible evidence to date, patients that undergo acudetox in a variety of treatment settings have reported improved response and clarity, reductions in cravings, insomnia and other sleep disturbances, lesser need for conventional pharmaceuticals, and a more optimistic and agreeable outlook on recuperation and recovery.
The detoxification protocols, in contrast with much of Chinese medicine, involve no diagnosis and are usually not modified in any way. Due to the fixed nature of the protocol, many facilities allow non-acupuncturists to administer the auricular acupuncture treatments, which are normally performed in a group setting.
While ear acupuncture has been practiced in Asia for over 2,000 years and auriculotherapy has been used in continental Europe for the past 40 years, it is only recently that is most medical doctors in the United States have considered this therapy. Every individual undergoing Acudetox will experience differences during each applied treatment. As with any addiction treatment, there will be occasions where a patient has a release of emotions, the basics of these therapies to reconnect an individual with their whole body, including the mind, while undergoing a more peaceful, calming withdrawal from substance abuse.