Acupuncture has a powerful effect at reducing the craving for drugs and healing the damaged neuroendocrine’s symptoms that encourage drug and alcohol use
Acupuncture is rapidly increasing in popularity as an effective aid in the treatment of many addictions—from alcohol and pushed / prescribed drugs to nicotine and overeating because it works!
Scientifically substantiated clinical evidence supports the use of acupuncture for addiction in both reducing withdrawal symptoms as well as activating those centers in the brain which produce the natural neurochemicals those who seek relief in drugs and alcohol are deficient in producing themselves.
The first acupuncture detoxification clinic in the United States opened in 1974, at the Lincoln Memorial Hospital in the South Bronx section of New York City. At first, acupuncture was used as an adjunct to methadone treatment, but such good results were obtained with acupuncture that methadone was dropped from the program. According to the clinic’s Director, Dr. Michael Smith, the success rate with acupuncture is substantially higher than that of more conventional programs. Unlike methadone, which is itself a highly addictive drug that is used primarily as a heroin substitute for those addicted to heroin, acupuncture is a natural procedure with no side effects, and it can treat a wide range of addictions because it actually stimulates the body to produce its own opiates and other inhibitory (feel good) neurotransmitters. It works equally well for cocaine, crack, heroin and alcohol addictions, users of psychedelics, and people addicted to barbiturates and amphetamines. Because psychiatric drugs follow along the same biochemical pathways as street drugs (and are even more toxic in many cases) acupuncture is equally effective for psychiatric drug addictions and is very helpful in aiding the repair of damaged brain and other organ tissues from the toxic effects these drugs inflict on the delicate organs of the neuroendocrine system.
Those suffering from neurochemical adaptation (addiction) report a marked reduction in craving for drugs, a relief from symptoms of withdrawal, and feelings of relaxation along with improved sleep. The success of acupuncture in the treatment of addiction has inspired the opening of public-funded acupuncture detoxification programs throughout the US.
There is strong physiological evidence supporting the use of acupuncture for push/prescribed drug and alcohol addiction. Research has shown that acupuncture can raise the level of endorphins in the nervous system. Resembling opiates in structure and function, endorphins (gr: morphine within) are the body’s natural opiates (pain killers) and are displaced and down-regulated (less naturally produced by the body) by regular heroin, opium and alcohol use which is why there is such a profound withdrawal from these drugs if reversal of the neurochemical adaptation is not supported properly by providing the body and mind (brain) everything it requires to produce it’s own again – quickly. Their level is also increased by exercise, and they are responsible for the phenomenon called "runner’s high", a feeling of euphoria. The key to maximize endorphin production is found in diet, exercise, environmental hygiene (avoiding situations and people that cause stress) and for many, spirituality. Many adjunct therapies such as yoga, acupuncture, CES etc… also stimulate the body’s beta-endorphin and enkephalin production and nutritional therapies such as D-phenylalanine actually serve to preserve what is made by reducing the enzyme activity that digests beta-endorphins.
Cravings and withdrawal symptoms experienced by people giving up smoking, drugs (legal / illegal) or alcohol can be quickly alleviated by raising the level of endorphins in the nervous system. Some researchers postulate that one mechanism that drives the desire to eat is also mediated by the endorphin level in the brain, which would explain why acupuncture helps dieters to control their appetites.
Chinese Medicine has its own explanation of how acupuncture works. Chinese medical theory is based on the concept of yin and yang, which are dynamic and complementary opposites observed in all the processes of nature. In the human body in regards to homeostasis (natural mental health) this can be observed as balance of the parasympathetic (inhibitory) / sympathetic (excitatory) nervous systems. In a healthy individual, yin and yang are in relative balance (homeostasis). Many drug addictions are encouraged by a deficiency of yin (parasympathetic nervous system) because it is burned out sometimes very early in life by trying to keep up (maintain homeostasis) with the over stimulating effects of neurotoxicity (over stimulating – causing nervous system damage) found in pesticides, MSG, aspartame, high sugar and processed food diets, caffeine, heavy metal poisoning, reactions to chemical sensitivities, and unrealistically demanding and over stimulating (stressful) lifestyles. All of these have a very profound effect on the neuroendocrine system which causes deficiencies in the body’s natural feel good neurotransmitters and hormones. Chinese medical theory, which comprehends the body metaphorically, relates yin to substance, quiescence, and the element of water. Yang relates to function, activity, and the element of fire. Yin nourishes, and yang consumes. When yin, or the water element, is deficient, fire is not held in check and rages out of control. Since it is the product of a deficit, it is called empty fire because it has no substance to fuel it. On a psychological level, such an imbalance creates feelings of anxiety, depression, panic, acute perception of stress, emptiness and desperation. Physiologically, it manifests as frenetic mind/body hyperactivity. The afflicted is driven to self medicate, but the drug exacerbates the fire and further depletes the yin.
Acupuncture treatment for drug / alcohol addiction involves nourishing the yin by treating points on the outside of the ear and other key areas to stimulate detoxification of the liver, kidneys and lower bowel. At Shangri La BioSpa and Resort our patients receive superior benefits from acupuncture treatment because the diet and TNT they receive in conjunction with their treatment serves to provide the raw materials required to produce the endorphins and other neurochemicals acupuncture is used to naturally stimulate in order to bring up yin therefore balancing yin/yang.