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Holistic Addiction Treatment – Acupuncture has rapidly become a complementary treatment plan for persons seeking to recover from various addictions due to the simple reason that it works. Consistent research results have demonstrated that this age-old practice that dates back at least three thousand years ago and which is the backbone of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has positive impact to nearly every body system. Acupuncture is arguably the best known and most effective alternative medical system in the world.

Approval of acupuncture by global health bodies

There has been widespread stigma for acupuncture in Western world for many years (Barnes, 2005). However, things have changed rather fast since the 1970s as modern research has backed acupuncture in providing healing to even some chronic conditions that had been difficult to treat using conventional medicine.

Since the United Nations’ World Health Organization approved acupuncture as a safe and effective medication for myriad conditions, more and more persons and medical professionals alike turn to the risk-free acupuncture that has defiantly stood the test of time (Cohen & Garcia, 2013). More health bodies across the world followed suit in declaring the safety and efficacy of acupuncture in treating an entire spectrum of ailments, including the National Institute of Health in the United States.

Application of auricular acupuncture in treating addictions

Addictions are mainly treated using ear or auricular acupuncture. This is a remarkably helpful treatment that can be applied at any point during an addiction recovery regimen, and it forms part of a specific acupuncture procedure aimed at treating addiction. Acupuncture is administered at the detox phase to assist in lowering pain as well as combating cravings.

In alcohol and drug rehabilitation, acupuncture complements conventional therapy by improving retention rates as well as supporting ongoing engagement in the program. In auricular acupuncture, a professional acupuncturist inserts five super-thin and flexible needles into five specific locations in each ear lobe and they remain there for around half an hour. The five locations targeted by this treatment can be outlined as follows (Otto, Quinn & Sung, 1998):

  1. Shen Men: This is regarded as the ‘Spirit Gate’ and helps reduce nervousness.
  2. Liver Point: Helps manage aggressive behavior and in detoxification of the blood and liver.
  3. Lung Point: Enhances the working of the lungs, improves air circulation and helps patients get rid of feelings of grief.
  4. Autonomic/Sympathetic Point: Pacifies the nervous system, consequently enhancing relaxation.
  5. Kidney Point: It helps in easing fears and aids in the restoration of key organs.

While this five-point ear acupuncture treatment is the commonest combination of acupuncture points for persons recovering from addiction, there are also other combinations that can be tailored to meet the specific patient requirements or condition. Notably, acupuncture can be applied immediately before the start of a rehab program or even long after the addiction recovery has started.

Benefits of acupuncture to recovering addicts

The benefits of acupuncture to persons recovering from addiction are far-reaching and well-documented. Many recovering addicts slip back to their bad habits due to strong cravings. Moner (1996) published a report in the Journal of Addictive Diseases that confirmed that acupuncture crucially reduces these cravings for alcohol, drugs and other substance abuse.

The treatment also offers stress and anxiety relief, and this effectively prevents relapse. Other benefits of acupuncture for recovering addicts include curbing depression, eliminating sleep disturbances and getting rid of acute pain (Margolin et al, 2002).

Schedule your free consultation today at Boca Raton Acupuncture by calling 561-939-0430 and find out how it can help you get your life back on track!



1. Barnes, L. L. (2005). American acupuncture and efficacy: meanings and their points of insertion. Medical Anthropology Quarterly, 19(3), 239-266.
2. Cohen, L., & Garcia, M. K. (2013). Acupuncture. In Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine (pp. 25-26). Springer New York.
3. Margolin, A., Kleber, H. D., Avants, S. K., Konefal, J., Gawin, F., Stark, E., … & Bullock, M. (2002). Acupuncture for the treatment of cocaine addiction: a randomized controlled trial. Jama, 287(1), 55-63.
4. Moner, S. E. (1996). Acupuncture and addiction treatment. Journal of Addictive Diseases, 15(3), 79-100.
5. Otto, K. C., Quinn, C., & Sung, Y. F. (1998). Auricular acupuncture as an adjunctive treatment for cocaine addiction: A pilot study. The American Journal on Addictions, 7(2), 164-170.