The Detoxification Protocol or Detox Protocol not only is used to aid the person while detoxifying from substances such as heroin, crack, and cocaine but can help when trying to kick the smoking habit and when withdrawing from the influence of alcohol.

The therapy works by sticking into both ears five sterile, fine, disposable needles and then sitting in a comfortable position for twenty to forty five minutes while the needles work their benefits on the energy system of the body.

The Major Acupuncture Points for Detoxification:

The Spirit Gate (Shen Men)

This acupoint possesses strong analgesic or painkilling effects, and thus when needled will help relieve, relax and calm a person. The Shen Men is the preeminent point used in all therapies for emotional trauma and physical pain. Moodiness and impatience gives way to calm and joy.


This acupoint is believed to have potent pain killing powers and thus can generate a relaxing, and calming effect that helps overcome symptoms of withdrawal and cravings. The Sympathetic point
also naturally releases endorphins into the blood stream which ameliorates stress. Anxiety dissipates into calmness.


The lungs are like a couple of moist sponges that take up almost all of the chest cavity. Their responsibility lies in supplying the blood with fresh oxygen for distribution to all the body tissues. Another of its responsibility is to expel CO2, a waste product for us humans. This acupoint will relieve toxicity in the skin, respiratory system, and immune system when needled.

The lungs, in TCM theory, govern our Chi and are at the very balance of Chi itself. When lung energy is depleted, the associated emotion is sadness; therefore when tonified and needled, melancholy and grief gives way to hope and courage.


The liver is the largest internal organ of our body. It is like a giant factory that processes different chemicals. It has several responsibilities such as: mobilizing the immune system of the body to combat infections; storing iron; neutralizing toxic substances such as alcohol, legal and illegal drugs, and other ingested chemicals from food; and helping clean the blood.

The liver, in traditional Chinese medicine or TCM, keeps everything smoothly running and governs the circulation of Chi or life force energy. It modulates mood swings and impulsive behavior. Depression and anger give way to balance and kindness.


The kidneys are the filtering systems of our body that receive from the liver detoxified material in the blood. The kidneys then purify the blood into urine for excretion. When this point is needled in the Detox Protocol, it leads to the relief of chemical toxicity in the kidneys.

In TCM the kidneys is where our ‘essence,’ our essential source energy, is stored; this corresponds to our longevity and life force. The emotion related to kidney energy deficiency is fright and fear. Paranoia and anguish give way to gentleness and greater self awareness when this point is needled.

When these vital organs are strengthened or tonified, we naturally are helping the body increase its detoxying abilities and boosting their capacity to work more effectively and efficiently in order avert any further damage from substances used.

All these points are meant to balance the energy of the body and aid in the healing processes – the aggregate effect is one of rejuvenation, relaxation, and calmness.

Jamie Catlett is a licensed and board certified acupuncturist in Jacksonville, FL and the founder of Jacksonville Acupuncture Clinic.