Acupuncture for Addiction Treatment
Acupuncture is a proven method in releasing toxins and helps promote a client’s spirituality, serenity, awareness and clarity. When an individual has been abusing substances for an extended period of time, drugs and alcohol are constantly flowing through the blood stream and leaving behind unhealthy substances and toxins in their muscle and fatty tissues. In addition, muscles have memory that can hold onto trauma, and that can later cause physical pain and even relapse.
For treatment to be successful, one must obtain release from past trauma and from the toxins that are stored in your body. These treatments will improve circulation to the body’s organs, balance the body’s energy levels, relieve tension, release stored toxins from cells, and improve all the bodily functions.
Acupuncture, sessions not only encourage and enhance relaxation, but they actually physically relieve the body of impurities left over and lingering from years of drug and alcohol dependency.
While not completely proven effective by formal medical studies as yet, acupuncture has become a widely used procedure in drug detoxification programs worldwide, due to a number of real-world success stories. It is also used as a complementary procedure in many detoxification programs—many of which may also combine the standard 12-step program with alternative methods like spiritual counseling and yoga treatment.
However, the medical community has recognized that acupuncture can help restore the chemical balance in the central nervous system. And some animal studies on drug addiction have shown the presence of neurotransmitter activity with the use of acupuncture. All of this points to a positive role of acupuncture in the treatment of addiction.
Some medical experts in the addiction treatment field report that acupuncture actually proved more effective than methadone treatment for heroin addicts. Some detox clinics have even dropped the use of methadone, in favor of acupuncture alone. In addition to heroin addiction, acupuncture is widely used in the treatment of other addictions like cocaine and crack, alcoholism, psychedelics, barbiturates and amphetamines.
Many recovering addicts report a number of desirable side effects, such as better sleep patterns, reduced withdrawal symptoms, and improved relaxation.
How Does Acupuncture Work
Acupuncture has been proven to raise the level of endorphins in the brain and central nervous system. These are the body’s natural pain-killers, and bear a strong resemblance to opiates in both structure and function. Endorphin level is also increased by physical exercise—such as the runner’s “high.” The increase in endorphins in the brain apparently reduces the cravings and withdrawal symptoms of recovering addicts, thereby increasing the effectiveness of addiction therapy.
Another explanation for acupuncture’s effectiveness comes from traditional Chinese medicine, which goes back thousands of years—and is based on the concept of ying and yang. According to this view, ying and yang are opposing forces, while, paradoxically, also complementary. In the most basic terms ying nourishes,like water, while yang consumes, like fire. According to this theory, addicts suffer from a shortage of ying and an abundance of yang. Healthy individuals, like most of nature, tend to keep ying and yang in perfect balance.
The feelings of emptiness and desperation that an addict experiences are attributed to the imbalance of ying and yang in the individual. The predominance of yang is like a fire to the addict, which feeds on itself, while depleting the ying—hence driving the addict to ever-increased levels of substance abuse.
Acupuncture Treatment for Addicts
The treatment consists simply of treating points outside the ear, which increases the level yang. The treatment is quite comfortable and lasts about 45 minutes, while the patient relaxes in a sitting or lying position. Three to five sterile short needles are inserted at precise points on the outer ear. In addicts, vital organs like the liver, kidneys and lungs are damaged—and three of the five needles are placed at points that strengthen those organs.
Daily treatments are advised for recovering addicts—and they often report a very peaceful and calming feeling of well-being during the treatments.