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Why should you try ear acupuncture? Here are 3 amazing things you didn't know about it!

Acupuncture is a vast medicine with a number of techniques, modalities, and theories all aiming to promote health of body, mind, and spirit. One of these modalities is auricular acupuncture, which is acupuncture where the ears are needled to influence certain aspects of physiology and mental health. One of the most widely used auricular techniques is a protocol called NADA, created by the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association. NADA is widely used to support people struggling with addictions, behavioral health, pain, and cancer (Bemis, 2013). This is the protocol most acupuncturists use in the context of community acupuncture, and it is the protocol which I will be performing in my upcoming FREE community acupuncture event at Earth Treks Columbia on August 15th, 2019!

1) Stop addictions in their tracks

Reviews of the research on the NADA protocol support its use in programs for heroin, alcohol, cocaine, and nicotine addiction recovery (Bemis, 2013). NADA together with standard addictions care has been shown to have significantly better outcomes than standard addictions care alone (Bemis, 2013). If you’re looking to decrease your dependence on any particular thing, whether it’s caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, sugar, some other substance, or a behavior, NADA can help. The protocol includes 5 points on the ear which regulate the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system, promote detoxification through the Liver and Kidneys, and help people to feel more grounded in their bodies and minds. With this new awareness, in my experience, people feel better equipped to learn what prompts their use of a substance or behavior, and are able to break the cycle with greater ease.

2) Promote mental health and psychological well-being

NADA has been widely studied across a number of psychiatric settings and has been accepted within mainstream psychiatric settings as an adjunct therapy in the management of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), insomnia, depression, and physical pain linked to mental health concerns (Bemis, 2013). NADA and other ear-acupuncture protocols are widely used in the military to support individuals with acute and chronic trauma reactions. Whether you’re a veteran or not, NADA can support you with symptoms related to trauma and mental health concerns. I commonly place a take-home sticky magnet on an ear point that is part of the NADA protocol to help individuals struggling with sleep concerns. In my experience, as much as NADA can help with addictions to substances, it can serve in people who are struggling to stick to their commitment to change a behavior or thought pattern, and makes a great adjunct treatment for people already in psychological therapy.

3) Pain management

Recent study of the NADA protocol