Can Acupuncture Help to Treat Addiction?  

We know that acupuncture can help with physical pain, ailments, and certain mental struggles. But what about the pain and anguish that comes along with addiction?

While there are many obvious holistic avenues to take in a quest for Wellness, acupuncture is often overlooked in the treatment of addiction. Perhaps it shouldn’t be.

Addiction is comprised of physical and psychological dependence on substances, and is often best treated with dual modalities, and a variety of approaches.

In a recent article out of Manila, Philippines, Dr. Iris Teo Hwee Chin, President of Singapore’s Si En Traditional Chinese Medicine College says, “Ear acupuncture tends to have this effect as pressure points near ear nerves send signals to the brain that switches the thinking and urges of the body.”

The article continued that, “several patients showed signs of getting over their addiction after completing 10 weekly sessions of ear acupuncture.”

The argument in favor of using acupuncture for addiction, in this case alcohol, is further supported by the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine.  Faculty member Brian Bender, Lac., who practices 5 Element Acupuncture, uses sensory methods to identify elements in a state of imbalance, and then uses specific points to address the imbalance. Faculty member Donna Keefe, Lac., added that, “When an addict is suffering from an in imbalance, they are using a substance like alcohol to self-medicate.”, a helpful site that connects individuals and families suffering from addiction to services and programs, outlines the specific acupuncture points that might aid in recovery:

  • Lung Point: improves lung function and alleviates feelings of grief.
  • Liver Point: removes toxins from the liver and blood, and curbs aggression.
  • Kidney Point: repairs vital organs and eases fears.
  • Shen Men: decreases anxiety - also known as the "spirit gate."
  • The Autonomic (or Sympathetic) Point: promotes relaxation and soothing of the nervous system.

While evidence is mixed surrounding the efficacy of acupuncture for addiction treatment, many studies have shown positive effects and correlations.

*If you or a loved one are suffering from addiction, please seek professional, medical help immediately. It is important to note that acupuncture as treatment should be sought in conjunction with other, supervised treatments and therapies.