What is NADA?

NADA stands for National Acupuncture Detoxification Association. It is five specific points in the ear designed to be highly effective to treat trauma, anxiety, addiction, cravings, and withdrawal. The NADA protocol was developed in the 1970s in the south Bronx at Lincoln Hospital by radical acupuncturists working with community groups like the Black Panthers and Young Lords to ameliorate the effects of detoxification from methadone. It is now utilized for community healing in disaster relief by groups such as Acupuncturists Without Borders, as well as rehabilitation centers and community primary care clinics.

The effectiveness of the needles is attributed equally to the therapeutic model of the group setting which helps break down the isolation that many feel when a traumatic event has happened or addictions are present. The simple elegance of a protocol means that everyone is treated equally, and those receiving do not need to communicate through speech which breaks down language barriers and eliminates the necessity of conveying a possibly painful narrative. The practitioner can see many people at one time, making the NADA protocol a simple and effective tool for group healing.

The NADA five points were chosen based on clinical indications as well as lower electrical resistance and pain sensitivity. All of the five points serve to balance the body's energy and assist the body's innate healing process. The five points are:

Sympathetic: balances the sympathetic (fight or flight) and parasympathetic (rest and digest) nervous systems. Strong pain relieving and relaxant effect on internal organs; dilates blood vessels

Shen Men: Also known as "Spirit Gate", helps alleviate anxiety and nervousness, producing a calming effect; helps the process of going within, supporting the internal journey of recovery

Kidney: In Chinese medicine the kidney is associated with growth, development, reproduction and the aging process. It is believed to be the root of life and essence and is associated with fear, resolve, will power and rebirth

Liver: In Chinese medicine the liver is associated with moving through anger and aggression and with keeping both of the emotions from damaging the energy of the body by helping it move smoothly

Lung: In addition to respiration, the lungs are also involved in immunity and protecting the body from disease, as well as with the grieving process and letting go