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)


  • I would like to thank every staff member. They were all extremely helpful and supportive. I’ve never been to a program where every member of the staff had an impact on my life until now. Thank you so much!

  • Thank you to Theresa, Shea, Julie, dr.k, and marry, you guys have made a huge impact on my life and I deeply appreciate that, thank you so much for being here for us to help improve our lives and emotions!

  • Well everyone. I’ve been at this for a while and so have many. Ya get used to getting let down. N that was my story, just get used to getting let down. But they restored my hope in professional psychiatric help. Theresa, Doreen, Julie, Becky, Mary, and everyone else are 1000% all in and are very sophisticated in their approach.

  • Thank you to the entire fourth floor employees here at star in the partial hospitalization program they are all amazing! My second time here and they really have helped me Thank you so much

  • Thank you for everything that you have helped me deal with in my life I feel this program has given me a better perspective on my emotional state and the actions that are/nor followed by them I would recommend this program highly for people struggling w/maintenance of mental stability and their barriers that come between their success.

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