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Acudetox/NADA Protocol

Acupuncture detoxification, also commonly referred to as Acudetox or the NADA protocol, was initially

introduced in the 1970’s at the Lincoln Hospital, Bronx NY, as part of their substance abuse

detoxification program. 

In 1985, the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA) was established to promote education,

oversee training and encourage community wellness through the use of the standardized five-point

auricular (ear) acupuncture protocol for addiction and behavioural health treatment to alleviate suffering

and to support recovery. 


Since its development, further research has shown the NADA protocol to be an effective complementary treatment that has been integrated into many different settings worldwide including: addiction and mental health treatment facilities, prisons, military, corporate wellness programs, cancer care recovery and as humanitarian aid during disaster relief efforts.


Acudetox treatment involves the gentle placement of five small, sterilized, disposable needles into specific acupoints on each ear.  The needles are retained for up to 45 minutes while the recipient sits quietly in an individual session or within a group setting.  Treatment does not require an initial assessment to be effective and there is no requirement to discuss one’s personal history.  It is a safe, effective, drug-free approach with few complications or adverse reactions.

Each acupoint used in the protocol has several specific functions that help to rebalance the ‘whole’ person – mind, body and spirit.  Recipients often experience an immediate sense of relaxation, calmness and centering feeling.  Additional benefits include:

  • Reduced pain

  • Reduced stress, anxiety and depression

  • Mental clarity

  • Increased sense of purpose and wellbeing

  • Improved sleep and energy levels

  • Improved relationship with oneself and others

  • Relief from emotional/psychological trauma/PTSD

  • Support with addiction treatment (nicotine, alcohol, drugs, food, gambling etc.) including reduced cravings and withdrawal symptoms, detoxification and relapse prevention


Acudetox treatment is deeply restorative and allows one to experience exactly what they need to in the present moment.  Recipients are able to let go of tensions and apprehensions in a supportive environment either within an individual treatment session, or in group setting with others who are also in the process of healing. 


National Acupuncture Detoxification Association. (2011). Acupuncture Detoxification Specialist Training Resource Manual 4th Edition. Laramie, WY.

NADA website:

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