Overcoming addiction is not easy. As acupuncturists, we have tools to help reduce cravings and aid in recovery. Over the last decade, one of my passions has been helping teenagers with addictions. Smoking is a common addiction we see in teens and is on the rise with the introduction of vaping. It is also a gateway to other addictions. We know the teenage brain is still forming and nicotine has negative impacts on brain development. We also know nicotine can cause anxiety and mood changes. We work with teenagers in our clinic to help them reduce and quit cigarettes and vaping. Those with a history of nicotine use frequently complain of cough, increased allergies, digestive issues, difficulty sleeping, emotional dis-regulation, anxiety, and skin conditions such as hives and eczema.

We know it is difficult to quit vaping. In our clinic, we see a range of side effects from mood disorders, constipation, sweating, headaches, tremors and digestive complaints. We will often use the NADA protocol with our patients experiencing addictive cravings. It was developed in the 1970s at the Lincoln Hospital in South Bronx, NYC to be used with withdrawal symptoms. The NADA protocol is a five point ear treatment that has been shown for over forty years to help reduce cravings, minimize withdrawal symptoms, increase calm, improve sleep, and promote a greater connection to recovery and healing. “Federal statistics (SAMHSA, 2000) show that over 500 addiction programs in the US use some form of acupuncture. A more recent estimate by Reuben et al. (2005) determined that at least 1500 addiction programs worldwide use some form of acupuncture for addictions.” (Skavgaard, la Cour, & Kristensen 2012). In our practice, patients regularly tell us they can tell a difference in their mood, calmness, and cravings when the NADA protocol is administered.

As acupuncturists, we also address any additional symptoms the patient is experiencing, including physical pain. Vaping is an epidemic in our country with grave concerns which have a multitude of serious and detrimental long term health consequences. Acupuncture, a relatively inexpensive, medication-free modality is a viable option to provide support for teenagers to support them in recovery from vaping, smoking, and nicotine addiction.

The Acupuncture Clinic of Boulder, Inc.
2500 Arapahoe Avenue, Suite 290, Boulder, CO 80302

SAMSHA: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2000). Uniform Facility Data Set (UFDS): 1999 (DHHS Publication no. (SMA) 99-3314. Washington, DC: US Department of Health and Human Services.

Letter written by Cailey Halloran, L.Ac., Dipl. O.M.