Acupuncture to support Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders

At SSTAR, the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA) protocol is used to address mental/behavioral health concerns as well as cravings for substances.  NADA acupuncture is recognized as a best practice in the treatment of addiction and substance use disorders.  The NADA points have been shown to produce biochemical, neurological, emotional and cognitive effects, reducing nicotine, drug and alcohol cravings.  They also reduce stress, anxiety and depression symptoms, increase mental clarity, and improve sleep.  Acupuncture stimulates the brain to release endorphins, our feel-good hormones, and calms the central nervous system.  The NADA protocol is auricular (ear) acupuncture, and has also been used for PTSD, in national disaster settings, with soldiers on the battlefield, and to treat refugees around the world.  Many people have had success and now research is supporting these evidence-based claims.

Acupuncture treatment is performed with the client resting in a chair.  An alcohol swab is used to clean the outside of the ear.  Up to five points are gently placed into specific sites on each ear, using small, sterilized disposable needles.  The insertion is quick, taking only seconds. The effects begin almost immediately.  Once the needles are in place, clients sit quietly and relax with the points in for 30-45 minutes.  Clients will be surrounded by other people receiving treatment at the same time.  While head/body points are occasionally used, the primary treatment is ear acupuncture, using the NADA 5-Needle Protocol.

Although Acupuncture Group is currently on hold, we are hoping to be able to open again in the near future.  To participate, clients must have completed an intake in SSTAR ABH within the past year and be engaged in ongoing services to be eligible.  Acupuncture Group is currently provided free of charge to all eligible clients, thanks to a grant from SAMHSA.  If interested, please talk to any SSTAR staff about referral to Julie Sanders to schedule screening and determine treatment plan: [email protected] or 508.235.7082  Acupuncture questions may be directed to: Mary Spencer, L.Ac. at [email protected] or 508.689.6195

Our Team

  • Julie Sanders
    LICSW, Program Director, Enhanced Partial Hospital Program
  • Mary Spencer
    Licensed Acupuncturist, Family Health Care Center (Partial Hospital Program)


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