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.”

Recovery.org, 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.

Calm the Mind with Acupuncture

In a time where our mind and bodies are forced to constantly be on and connected, its becoming more and more difficult to just relax. With longer workdays, social pressures and increased connectivity, its nearly impossible to unplug which can be especially harmful for those that suffer from anxiety.

Luckily, anxiety is treatable.

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You might have heard that talk therapy, physical activity, and medication are all viable options for anxiety relief, and that’s true for many. Yet often forgotten about is the holistic, natural and ancient approach of combating chronic worry and tension with the art of acupuncture.

If you’re having trouble relaxing or sleeping, are consumed with negative thoughts or are tired of feeling jittery all the time, we can help.

But how, exactly?

Perhaps this recent article from Everyday Health puts it best when it states, “Depending on where the needles go, acupuncture can cause the nervous system to produce painkilling chemicals, jump-start the body’s natural ability to heal itself, or stimulate the part of the brain that controls emotions, including anxiety.”

In a personal testimonial found over on You Beauty, writer Avital Norman Nathman shared, “After a month of regular treatments, I couldn’t help but notice a difference. I would always have the best sleep of the week the night after my acupuncture appointment. And I would also feel lighter. My chest wouldn’t be clenched as tightly and the raw current of anxiety that seems to continuously float just beneath the surface of my skin was dissipate for a while, allowing me to experience a semblance of normalcy, if only for a little while. And I’m not the only one finding relief for anxiety with acupuncture.”

The actual acupuncture session itself can be quite calming, too – especially at NJ Acupuncture Center.  At our facility, we provide comfortable and heated beds, soothing music, essential oils for aromatherapy, and infrared heat to help calm the nervous system and encourage pure rest. 

Our massage options are also a great opportunity to soothe and muscular tension resulting from anxiety. 

If you find that fear, worry or anxiety has an unwanted presence in your life, it’s time to calm the mind and consider adding acupuncture into your wellness and self-care routines. We’d be honored to play a role in the healing process.