to Project Recovery Acupuncture Program
Acupuncture is a therapy
which was developed in China over 5,000 years ago and has been
used to treat a variety of illnesses. It is used worldwide. Acupuncture
works by stimulating designated points on the body by inserting
very fine acupuncture needles. These points correspond with the
functions of internal organs and other bodily processes according
to Chinese medical theory. The Chinese have maintained for centuries
that the human body is made up of spirit, body, and mind. The
whole person must be considered when treatment is given.
does Acupuncture work for detoxification and treatment?
Acupuncture reduces symptoms of withdrawal as well
as aiding in long term recovery. Some substances that respond
well to acupuncture include alcohol, heroin, crack, methadone,
methamphetamine and nicotine. Acupuncture does not
cure alcoholism or drug addiction . It alleviates
withdrawal symptoms so that mental and physical stability are
achieved as soon as possible, allowing involvement in counseling,
twelve-step programs, and other support systems which are necessary
for maintaining sobriety.
Improves sleep, reduces insomnia, stops drug dreams
Lessens depression, anxiety and insomnia.
Reduces or eliminates withdrawal symptoms such
as drug craving, body aches, headache, nausea, sweating, muscle
Is useful in stress reduction and relapse prevention.
the state of Colorado, only a licensed acupuncturist or trained
physician may perform acupuncture. Five new, sterilized, disposable,
solid (that is no hollow core) needles are inserted into specific
points in each ear. Each point stimulates an internal body organ
or function. The central nervous system, kidney, liver
and lungs that in turn, assist in reducing cravings for alcohol
or other drugs.
Acupuncture is a treatment modality that was developed and used
in China 5,000 years ago. Acupuncture is increasing in popularity
and is being used worldwide to treat a variety of illnesses.
The Chinese medicine understanding of human beings sees no separation
between the mind, body and spirit; they are perceived as a whole.
The concept of qi (pronounced “chi”) is very important in Traditional
Chinese Medicine (TCM). Qi is considered to be the life force,
the energy that powers the body, mind, and spirit. Qi circulates
in the body along fourteen major pathways, or meridians, each
of which has a connection to the organs. There are specific points
along these meridians where the boy's energy can be contacted
through the insertion of acupuncture needles. Each point has its
own function and effect on the qi.
Acupuncture's goal is to help the patient achieve balance. Symptoms
are seen as the body-mind trying to get some attention and help.
Illness is perceived as a loss of harmony or balance in the body,
and may come from a hyper or hypo functioning of the organ(s).
Symptoms may appear on the mental, emotional or physical levels
(i.e., inability to concentrate, rage, headaches). Acupuncture
is used to redirect the qi and restore function.
The points used in the ear treatment for the addicted person are
the liver, kidney, lung, Shen Men, and sympathetic.
The first three are the organs of detoxification at the physical
level. Spiritually these points relate to the sense of hope/despair
(liver), will power/hiding (kidney), and emptiness/inspiration
(lung). Emotionally these three organs refer to anger/determination,
fear/courage (kidney), and self-esteem/self loathing (lung). Shen
Men means “Spirit Gate.” It is used to calm the patient. Sympathetic
refers to the autonomic nervous system. This point balances the
sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, allowing the
body/mind to come into a state of equilibrium. This treatment
also functions to strengthen the adrenal glands, which are commonly
in a state of depletion due to stress and substance abuse. Treating
this combination of points provides a comprehensive and effective
medical approach. Because people need to heal from addiction on
many levels (physiological, psychological, spiritual) we believe
that Chinese Medicine can play an extremely useful role in assisting
a person in their process of recovery, along with traditional
and the Treatment of Addictions
In 1974, at the Lincoln Hospital, South Bronx,
New York City, Dr. Michael Smith opened a substance abuse treatment
program. This clinic has documented the beneficial effects of
acupuncture for recovering clients. Currently there are more than
100 clinics in New York City and 1000 clinics worldwide that include
acupuncture and the Lincoln Hospital Model of treatment.
The National Association of Criminal Justice Planners suggested
a three-tiered program that tapers the number of treatments to
the length of sobriety. Realizing that relapse may occur as a
part of recovery, this tiered program allows clients to progress
at their own rate. If the client is not successful in the second
stage, they simply go back to the first stage, which provides
more frequent acupuncture treatment. In this way, a patient is
supported instead of being punished for a relapse.
is an excellent treatment modality because if treats the addiction
problem despite a client's being in a state of denial regarding
their problem. Acupuncture provides a non-confrontational approach
during early recovery. It alleviates withdrawal symptoms and calms
the patient, thus preparing the soil for further counseling and
group therapy. This makes the initial days of detox much more
manageable for both clients and the counseling staff.
1989, Flavia Lewis, Executive Director at The Council learned
about the effectiveness of including acupuncture with traditional
counseling. It took three years to gain approval for and acceptance
of the plan, and Project Recovery opened on November 9, 1992.
Currently, Project Recovery provides acupuncture at several sites
throughout the community. Acupuncture was provided for 8 years
at the Denver County Jail.
of the setting or the substance abused, acupuncture aids in patient
detoxification. It does so by supporting the main organs of elimination,
thus speeding the body's ability to rid itself of toxins. Treatment
improves mental clarity and the ability to focus. It
also provides the patient with a sense of calmness and serenity.
This creates a greater receptivity to the counseling process.
consists of the placement of 5 sterile needles just beneath the
skin of both ears. The client then sits quietly for 45 minutes.
Treatment is more effective when done in a large group . The treatment
teaches patients to relax from the inside out. From this
quieter inner place the patient can then make more careful choices
about their reactions to life situations.
Addiction and Acupuncture
acupuncture is not drug specific and works with all drugs, the
following substances respond well to acupuncture:
following withdrawal symptoms are eased with consistent treatment:
Negative effects of stress
helps stabilize physically and emotionally increasing the ability
to focus. Acupuncture
stimulates your own body to heal itself—be rebuilding your physical
and emotional self.
Research has shown that more time spent in treatment is in a client's
best interests. This time allows for thinking and change to occur,
and practice with new behaviors so that strength develops and
healthy coping skills develop. It is recommended that if a client
does relapse, they continue treatment and come in more frequently
for acupuncture than they had been prior to the relapse. It is
required that they schedule a one-on-one counseling session as
well. Receiving more acupuncture treatment—along with the other
benefits—allows a client to experience more contemplation time.
Relapse does not mean failure. It presents an opportunity for
one to recognize the seriousness of his/her addiction and to recommit
It has been proven that the more treatments a client receives,
the higher his or her chance is of completing the program with
greater success. Lower re-arrest rates have been indicated, both
during and after successful completion of treatment. It is especially
important to receive as many acupuncture treatments as possible
in the first few weeks of therapy. As cravings and anxiety decrease,
acupuncture time can also be reduced.
is an effective treatment for any substance use.
headaches, body aches, sweats, sleep disturbances, tremors,
anxiety, depression, mental clarity, decreases anger, reduces
cravings for alcohol and other drugs.
helps stabilize you physically and emotionally and increases
your ability to focus.
help you stay clean and sober.
you from the inside. So sit quietly during treatment.
treatments stimulate your body to heal itself. The treatments
are not to sedate you but rather treatments that rebuild your
physical and emotional self.
for treatment as often as you can. It
works best when treatments are frequent and ongoing. These treatments
will have a cumulative effect. If you are still using or relapse
keep coming to treatment! The acupuncture will help you stop.
coffee, sugar, cigarettes, heavy meals, or being overly hungry
a minimum of one hour before treatment.
the herbal tea formula as often as you like. It will help you
relax throughout the day and may help normalize your sleep.
The tea is safe, non-narcotic, and non-addictive.