The NADA Protocol

Posted on Oct 1, 2013

The NADA Protocol

In the 1970s, a drug treatment clinic began in the Bronx, New York. It was run by the community, using methodone to treat drug addiction. As the program at Lincoln Hospital (now Lincoln Recovery) progressed, there arose a need for completely drug free treatment. By 1974, the clinic began implementing acupuncture in place of methodone for treatment. Their treatments were based on research from China showing acupuncture’s success in treating heroin addiction.

The original research used electrical stimulation of the Lung point in the ear. Experience later determined that no stimulation provided longer lasting results. Further study and experience by Dr. Michael Smith (one time director of Lincoln Recovery) led to the development of the 5 point, auricular protocol we are familiar with today.


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The NADA protocol is also known as acu detox, acupuncture¬†detoxification, five point ear acupuncture protocol, 5 point protocol, and 5NP. It uses the sympathetic, Shen Men, kidney, liver and lung points in the ear to promote detoxification, curb cravings, and create a feeling of overall wellness. The needles are generally inserted in both ears and retained for 30-45 minutes. Following treatment, ear seeds are often placed on the points to continue the treatment’s effects.

The efficacy of the protocol is well documented and the benefits of utilizing NADA include: increased retention in drug treatment programs; a more optimistic attitude regarding treatment from the patient; less episodes of sleep disturbance; a decrease in anxiety; and a decreased dependence on pharmaceuticals. Of course, NADA is not the only facet of treatment in cases of addiction, but it can be a hugely beneficial one. Through its years of use, NADA has been proven effective in treating addictions of all kinds (hard drugs, in addition to cigarettes, alcohol, food, etc.) and can also be used in cases of psycho emotional trauma (post natural disaster, PTSD, depression, ADHD, etc.).

In 1985, Dr. Michael Smith and the staff at Lincoln Recovery founded NADA (the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association). Their mission is to promote “community wellness through the use of a standardized auricular acupuncture protocol for behavioral health, including addictions, mental health, and disaster & emotional trauma.” They offer training in the protocol for various practitioners and encourage the use of NADA treatment worldwide.

You can read more about NADA’s background here and learn more about NADA from their website.

If you or a loved one is interested in utilizing acupuncture in the treatment of addiction or emotional trauma, please contact us. NADA protocol only treatments are only $5 each and we love being able to work with you on your road to wellness!


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