BEE HEARD: Get your ears poked, it very well could make your day! 

Photo Credit: Courtesy SU Behavioral Health

The Behavioral Health Division has some new resources to offer the community! This past week, several of our therapists were trained in what’s called Acu-Detox thanks to an organization called POCA: People’s Organization of Community Acupuncture. 

The “acu” comes from acupuncture, a healing modality central to Chinese medicine dating back 3000 years. Acupuncture uses tiny needles to stimulate or calm the energy of the body and mind. Acu-detox uses five, 7-millimeter-long needles, thinner than a pencil lead that are put under the skin on five different points inside each ear. The needles are gently inserted along what are called meridians which are like avenues via which energy travels in the body. These meridians are connected to different organs in the body such as the liver, kidney, and lungs. The ear is full of meridians that connect to every area of the body. In Chinese medicine, the body’s organs are also correlated with certain emotions. For example, the kidneys are related to fear and anxiety, the liver is related to anger, and the lungs connect with grief. Hence, this treatment can serve multiple purposes and works both on physical and emotional levels.  

However, what’s especially helpful to know is that the Acu-Detox has proven to reduce withdrawal symptoms for people coming off of drugs. It has proven to reduce withdrawal symptoms with alcohol, marijuana, opioids, methamphetamine, and many other drugs. One of the most effective parts of Acu-detox is that it stabilizes the nervous system. It is intended to move energy – what the Chinese call “chi” – in the body so that the physical and emotional body can balance and stabilize. This means that some people experience shudders, twitching, tingling, and the release of emotions. Especially because of the emotional shifting going on, it is helpful to have a therapist present who can help cultivate a safe space.  

This five-point treatment lasts from 30 to 45 minutes. The patient is encouraged to relax and remain in their seat, keeping their eyes open or closed (whatever is more comfortable). The treatment takes the person into a meditative state that has physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual rewards. Areas like anxiety, blood pressure, heart rate, sweating, and agitation are reduced greatly. 

When a person is coming off of a drug, it is recommended that they engage in this treatment at least three times a day. People that aren’t in withdrawal but in early recovery can engage in this treatment as well and can help with the psychological withdrawal symptoms that people in early recovery experience. 

Now, I know the thought of needles might put some people off. I know it did for me awhile back when I first tried acupuncture. But most of the time I felt nothing. Our therapists trained in Acu-Detox reported that sometimes a person might feel a little prick but usually they felt nothing. In fact, the number one “side-effect” is relaxation. One of my colleagues who tried this said she fell asleep in the chair.  

Come give it a try! If you have any questions or concerns, we are here to help! 

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