In the last three decades, Chinese medicine, especially acupuncture in Orlando, has become an increasingly popular modality for not only helping people with health problems but also with addictions and emotional distress issues. For people who are detoxifying from alcohol and drugs acupuncture has been quite a boon for their needs. It also has worked well for those who have gone through a high degree of trauma, like returning military veterans. The NADA protocol or the five needle protocol is one of the most commonly used and innovative ways of assisting these groups of people from their problems.

The NADA protocol involves the application of acupuncture needles in five points in both auricles (outer ears). This treatment is administered in groups. The patients comfortably sit in chairs while the needles are applied in both their outer ears where they remain stuck for 30 to 45 minutes. The impact of the treatment for most patients is an immediate and incredible feeling of relaxation and calmness. Individuals burdened with the symptoms of psychomotor agitation, restlessness, and anxiety usually sense relief and release from the severity of their symptoms.

In several locations across the country, the NADA treatment protocol has been adopted as an integrative type of treatment in prisons, hospitals, mental health and detox centers due to its powerful effects. It got its name from the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association which is the organization that primarily promotes this method throughout the country. While licensed acupuncturists usually provide this service, NADA also allows non-acupuncturists who have become Acu-Detox Specialists to administer this therapy to people in their community.

In major US cities, there are mental health clinics you can go if you are uninsured or poor. These are clinics that offer counseling, Qi Gong classes, and the 5 needle protocol. They often cater to homeless people who have drug addiction problems. These clinics usually have a soothing and cheery atmosphere.

The adoption and innovation of the NADA protocol as a plan of treatment for people suffering from emotional distress or those who are detoxifying was developed by a physician named Dr. Michael Smith. After founding this therapeutic procedure in the 1970s, he went on to help establish NADA in 1985. This standardized treatment continues to grow and has been adopted by a lot states across the country.

The five acupoints in the ear relate to specific acupoints that generate different effects. These points include the autonomic point and “Spirit Gate” or Shen Men that help bring about relaxation and calmness, the lung point that helps release grief and facilitates deep breathing, the liver point that promotes detoxification and reduces intense anger, and the “kidney point” which helps decrease fear.

From the viewpoint of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), each person is unique and thus requires holistic care for both the body and mind. Practitioners of TCM usually provide acupuncture (including the NADA) and massage, and recommend sacred movement like qi gong, as well as lifestyle and diet modifications.

The efficacy of the NADA treatment approach has been validated by several clinical studies in recent years. Much of the studies have demonstrated substantive results in numerous types of settings. In Europe, the NADA protocol is being used in over 130 prisons throughout the continent. It is being used in several psychiatric hospitals and in many Indian reservations. A NADA training program has been established in the Yale medical school program for its residents. The Veterans Administration advocates the use of this treatment for people diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

A lot of people suffering from intense, unsettled emotions and anxiety who have had the chance to try “the ear treatment” have reported a sensation of profound calmness and relaxation, as if a heavy burden had been lifted from their shoulders. Some of them avail of this treatment whenever they feel overwhelmed.

The NADA protocol can be a valuable tool for people who are in the course of weaning or withdrawing off psychiatric medications. The most common symptoms of drug withdrawal include insomnia, restlessness, agitation, anger, bouts of depression, and extreme anxiety. The NADA can also be an extremely useful therapy for people who are prone to emotional distress and big mood swings. One of this protocol’s strong benefits is that it is administered in groups and so can be a much cheaper treatment compared to a one on one or regular treatment. Getting acupuncture treatment in a group can also be an opportunity for you to develop a strong bond between people without the need of asking them to explore uncomfortable and/or deep emotions.

Some therapists who promote mindfulness often find it a bit challenging to persuade people to embark on a regular practice of meditation. They found that introducing these people to acupuncture is one of the most effective ways to help them get started. Acupuncture is a much better way to help people experience the benefit of increased somatic awareness and deeper relaxation that often occurs while meditating compared to the pressure of integrating meditative practice into a busy lifestyle. While the NADA protocol is definitely not a cure-all, it has become a progressively indispensible complementary therapy that can help enhance well being and emotional health.