Substance Addiction Treatment with Acupuncture

Two of the best modalities traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) can offer for the effective treatment of substance addiction are ear acupuncture (auriculotherapy) and acupuncture. In fact these, two therapies have been utilized by TCM practitioners for thousands of years to restore and maintain health. More currently, they are utilized to resolve drug addictions like cigarette, alcohol, crack, heroin and cocaine. People who have been treated with one of these methods usually have few (if ever) relapses and experience no kind of bad side effects. It is then very strange why western medicine considers TCM as “alternative medicine” when it has been practiced for millennia!


Acupuncture has been around for 5 thousand years and is grounded on the principle of Qi or vital energy. According to acupuncture/TCM theory, Qi flows throughout the body along 12 energy vessels known as meridians, with each meridian associated with a corresponding organ system. There over a thousand acupuncture points underlying the meridians and both these points and the meridians underneath them can be stimulated by acupuncture needles to improve the flow of Qi. During an acupuncture treatment, the needles are inserted into specific acupuncture points to help restore health and balance in the body.

Prior to the 1970’s, very few people in the United States were aware what acupuncture was all about. Now acupuncture’s popularity has expanded and is recognized by institutions such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as a valid treatment for a number of conditions. Acupuncture is considered a valid treatment for over 40 health conditions according to the World Health Organization.


Diagnosing and treating health conditions in other parts of the body by needling and stimulating the meridians in the outer ear is known as auriculotherapy or ear acupuncture. The out ear or auricle can be represented by a fetus at an upside down position. The lower ear lobe represents the fetus’s head while the top of the external ear is the feet and everything in between is the body of the fetus.

A French doctor Dr. Paul Nogier is honored by the Chinese government to be the Father of Modern Auricular Therapy because of his research and discoveries on the auricle and on how acupuncture on the ear can help treat a number of conditions.

An American psychiatrist, Dr. Michael Smith was able to develop an effective auricular therapy procedure in 1987. He was able to create a treatment that is acceptable in the Miami legal court system to help provide effective treatment rehabilitation of drug addicts. Dr. Smith also helped establish the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association whose website is

When treating addictions using auriculotherapy, certain acupuncture points on the ear are selected and may subjected to one or more of these treatment tools: laser, electro-stimulation, acupressure, magnets, seeds/pellets or needles.  This therapy can be performed by acupuncturists and if properly trained, even by psychotherapists, physical therapists , nurses, naturopathic doctors, medical doctors, and chiropractic doctors  .

One of the best features auriculotherapy or acupuncture can provide is that they can be safely given to “high risk” patients.  An addict who suffers from high blood pressure or is pregnant cannot be prescribed with pharmaceutical medications unlike auriculotherapy or acupuncture which can be given to all people who have a substance addiction problem.