NADA Protocol | Family Chiropractic Complex - Tullahoma Tennessee Chiropractor

The NADA protocol was developed here in the United States sometime in the mid-1970’s. It involves placement of sterile disposable acupuncture needles into the visible part of the ear on very specific points. As this style of auricular or ear acupuncture was developed and tested, it was confirmed that these points calm the nervous system to the point where the cravings for a given drug be it alcohol or heroine diminish to the point of irrelevancy. When used in conjunction with various cognitive therapies, the NADA protocol is effective in removing the addiction and allowing the patient to live a normal life.

There are several other forms of auricular acupuncture therapy that are used for addictive cases. Currently, most auricular or ear acupuncture uses a hybrid of NADA and the French style rather than the Chinese system. This has been noted in several national and international studies as being very effective when paired with cognitive therapies and on its own for the treatment of various kinds of addiction. Ear acupuncture for addiction is considered basic education in nearly all acupuncture schools in the United States.

The basic points for all forms of addiction are as follows with additions made to the list based on the specific behavior of drug being used: Shenmen, Sympathetic, Lung 2, Liver, Kidney, and Point Zero. The basis for this point selection is to slow down the mind and allow the healing process to take effect. Their specific functions are as follows:

Shenmen and Sympathetic: calm the mind to remove the need for distraction

Lung 2: reduce the impulse of sadness

Liver: reduce the impulse of anger and increase a sense of calmness

Kidney: improve willpower and therefore decrease the perceived power of the drug

Point Zero: harmonize body processes

The additional points are based on the general symptoms usually found in the population. These are common enough that a predictable pattern emerges. This makes treatment easy to systematize.

For alcohol: Alcohol, Aggression, Master, Front of Head, Back of Head, Mouth. The function of the points is found directly in their names.

For smoking: Mouth, Aggression, Master, Lung 1, Nicotine, Adrenal.

For weight control: Hunger, Adrenal, Endocrine, Master, Esophagus, Small Intestine, Stomach, Antidepression.

This system can also be employed for depression, anxiety, pain, insomnia, memory loss, and a few others. The NADA and ear acupuncture system is most effective for neurological and emotional conditions.

Typically, the type of needles used are .5 inches long and 38 gauge (this is very small). They are solid surgical steel and have no psychoactive chemicals. The needles are also single use, and are disposed of in a SHARPS container application to the patient. Pain from the needles is usually minimal and well tolerated. If significant and distressing pain is experienced by the patient, the needles are removed and the treatment is concluded. This is not common.

A treatment lasts about 15 minutes and is done weekly for usually 8 weeks. The patient is re-evaluated. The patient’s drug of choice should be in reduced use by week 3 and a lack of want to use should be common by week 5. While full sobriety is highly variable from individual to individual, 2 month free from usage is usually enough to stop treatment by acupuncture with ongoing cognitive therapy being highly recommended. If a relapse does occur, resuming treatment will help to reduce the amount and severity of the relapse.