The NADA Protocol

The NADA protocol is an auricular(ear) based standardised acupuncture treatment that was designed to be implemented in a group setting as a part of a broader treatment plan.

The use of ear acupuncture has been in practice for  thousands of years but its use for addiction and mental health issues is a more modern development.

In the mid 20th century French Neurologist Nogier developed a specific auricular map and then in the early 1970’s a Hong Kong neurosurgeon discovered that by applying acupuncture to certain ear points it aided the drug withdrawal process.

The National Acupuncture Detoxification Association was then developed in the 1980’s to help support the growing need in America for drug withdrawal support programs.

The NADA protocol is made up of 5 points in the ear

They are:

Shenmen- “spirit gate’, reduces nervousness and anxiety.

Sympathetic- calms the nervous system  and helps with overall relaxation.

Kidney- for calming fears and healing internal organs.

Liver- for detoxification, blood purification and to quell aggression.

Lung- promotes aeriation and helps clients let go of grief.


The needles are gently paced in each ear.

The recipients sit quietly in a group for 30-45min.

The NADA protocol is widely used in over 40 countries around the world to help with addictions and behavioural health issues.

The NADA protocol is used in hospitals, health centres, drug withdrawal units, wellness retreats, prisons and community centres.


Addictions such as alcohol, nicotine and opioids are common and notoriously difficult to withdraw from. Research has shown that a multi treatment approach including the NADA protocol to assist in the withdrawal and recovery process is more beneficial than programs without it. It has been shown to decrease cravings for alcohol and other drugs during the withdrawal process.

Behavioural health issues such as depression, insomnia, chronic stress, PTSD,pain and anxiety can also benefit from the NADA protocol. It has been reported and seen to

  • Increase calmness
  • Relief from Stress and emotional trauma
  • Improve Sleep
  • A discovery of inner quiet and strength
  • Lessen agitation

NADA has been proven worldwide to be a cost effective, non invasive, drug free and clinically effective adjunct therapy alongside other therapies such as counselling, education, exercise and medical support.


Elizabeth B Stuyt & Claudia A Voyles 2016