Photography by  Gina Sanders

Photography by Gina Sanders


In the mid-1970s, Michael Smith, a medical doctor at Lincoln Hospital in the South Bronx, modified an existing system of auricular acupuncture into a simple technique for the treatment of many common drug addictions. This extremely effective strategy became what is now referred to as the NADA (National Acupuncture Detoxification Association) protocol.

Acudetox is both safe and cost-effective. When combined with other forms of treatment, such as individual therapy, group counseling, and support groups, it’s proven beneficial to those suffering from substance addiction. Clients often state that they feel “energized,” “lighter,” and “calm enough to cope” after undergoing a session.

The treatment involves shallow insertion of extremely thin needles on five points on both ears to help ease withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings.

Photography by  Rich Waich

Photography by Rich Waich


These points include:

• Shen Men: decreases anxiety

• The Autonomic (or Sympathetic) Point: promotes relaxation and soothes the nervous symptom

• Lung Point: improves respiratory conditions and alleviates feelings of grief

• Liver Point: addresses toxins in the liver and blood, and curbs irritability and aggression

• Kidney Point: enhances constitutional health and eases fear


What does the research say?

Researchers at Yale University School of Medicine and Veterans Affairs Connecticut Healthcare Center led a study involving 82 patients who were addicted to cocaine. The patients who received auricular acupuncture were given treatment for 8 weeks. The study found that the patients who received the acupuncture treatment were significantly less likely to relapse compared to the control groups.

According to the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association, the NADA protocol has been reported to improve addiction recovery program retention and enhance an individual’s outlook on life, plus lower cravings, anxiety, sleep problems, and need for pharmaceuticals.

Is NADA safe for pregnant women?


What’s a treatment like?

Treatments typically take 30 to 45 minutes while the person is seated. Carpathia Collaborative provides a private group setting in a safe, quiet, supportive environment. I conclude every treatment by applying adhesive-backed Vaccaria seeds or magnetized beads to provide prolonged stimulation and support. 

How many treatments will I need?

This depends on your stage in the recovery process. Some individuals benefit from two to three treatments a week initially, then transition to weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly treatments.

What is the cost of a treatment?

Each treatment is $40 and packages are available.

What if I’m terrified of needles?

Acupuncture is just one of the methods for stimulating auricular points. Tapping Vaccaria seeds or magnetized metal beads to the points provides a gentle intervention for fearful or extremely sensitive individuals.

Can NADA be used for conditions other than addiction?

People who have experienced disaster or trauma — as well as first responders, such as police, firefighters, hospital personnel, etc. — have reported significant benefit from acudetox. And it's not specific to substance abuse, either. I've found it very useful when addressing other addictions, such as sugar, and in the treatment of chronic pain.

Contact me at amyadams@carpathiacollaborative for more information.