NADA protocol auricular acupuncture five points ear
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What is the NADA Protocol?

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The NADA Protocol is named after the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association

The NADA Protocol was developed in the 1970s to help with recovery from opiate addiction.  With time, experience, and refinements, it is now widely used in other settings besides addiction recovery.

Auricular acupuncture and the Protocol

The Protocol is a form of “auricular acupuncture,” which is acupuncture of the outer part of the ear called the auricle. 

Auricular acupuncture can conveniently treat many conditions

The ear is directly or indirectly connected with 12 meridians, which is why auricular acupuncture can treat a wide range of conditions.  There is a certain convenience factor with auricular acupuncture, as well.  A person can receive needles in the ear quickly and easily in pretty much any setting.  All that’s needed is a place to sit quietly for 20-30 minutes.  

If you are curious to learn about the history and current clinical applications of auricular acupuncture, read more here.

Applications of the NADA Protocol

This combination of convenience and effectiveness has contributed to the NADA Protocol becoming internationally recognized for its utility in other situations besides addiction recovery support.  It has become widely used as an effective front-line treatment for first responders and people in communities hit by natural disasters and other traumatizing events.  For example, for months in the aftermath of 9/11, the Protocol was offered 24 hours a day at Ground Zero. St. Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan offered it to help alleviate insomnia and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) affecting emergency relief workers.

Points used in the NADA Protocol

The Protocol uses five points, as listed below:

  • The Autonomic Point, also know as Sympathetic Nervous System Point – Calms the nervous system; helps with overall relaxation
  • Shen Men, or “Spirit Gate” – Reduces anxiety and nervousness
  • Kidney Point – Calms fears, promotes healing of internal organs
  • Lung Point – Promotes oxygenation, helps with letting go of grief
  • Liver Point – For detoxification, blood purification, and to quell aggression
NADA Protocol Close Up.

The part of the needle that goes into the ear is cat-whisker thin. What’s most visible in this picture is the “handle” of the needle, which aids in its placement by the acupuncturist.

About the author

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Charlotte Miller

Charlotte Miller is CCHW's Office Manager

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