Stillpoint Press Home


Resources for Acupuncture in Chemical Dependency Treatment and Recovery


Frequently Asked Questions



What kinds of agencies or services should think about adding an acupuncture component?

Does acupuncture really work?

Are there any drugs that it doesn't work for?

Does it help with other addictions?

How much does it cost?

How do programs pay for it?

Is acupuncture safe? What are the liability issues? Is there increased risk of spreading infectious disease?

Does the treatment hurt?

How much time does the treatment take?

Do clients need to make an appointment for acupuncture?

What do clients do while they're getting needled?

What do clients do while they are getting needled?
The effects of the treatment and the experience people have who receive it are highly subjective, depending upon a host of factors including such things as their level of stress at the time, their drug(s) of choice, and how recently they used. There is usually a sense of "relaxed alertness," and often a slightly euphoric feeling. The most important thing that can be said is that this may be the first time that this person has felt "good" or "better" or even "okay" without being inebriated in a very long time! That experience will give them hope, which is of course the thing they most need is they are to achieve recovery.

So this should be viewed as the client's personal and sacred space, a time for them to be inward and undistracted by outside noise and activity and the "pressure to perform" that often characterizes other therapeutic interventions.

In the optimum setting, therefore, clients are sitting quietly. Acupuncture is unique among the services offered at a drug treatment program in that it is "non verbal." This is also one of its greatest advantages (as described at length in the book Transformation and Recovery.)

Some clients may choose to read or quietly chat with one another while they are being treated, and some clinics have soothing music playing in the background. "Purists," however, would argue that all of these external activities and sounds will lessen the therapeutic value of the treatment. Most clinics have a sign on the wall saying "Acupuncture works best in a quiet setting".

previous - Read FAQs in Sequence - next

Index of Articles - Links - Home

Scroll Down for More "Frequently Asked Questions"


The Book: Transformation and Recovery

Articles on this Website

Links to Other Articles and Resources


More FAQs

How many clients can be treated at once?

How often do clients need to be treated?

How long to clients have to keep having treatments?

Does it matter what time of day the acupuncture is provided?

What national organizations support acupuncture in treating addiction? What resources are available to support us if we decide to do it?

Won't adding "alternative medicine" such as acupuncture make our program seem experimental or "fringe" with our referral sources, funders, or potential clients?

Can I start an acupuncture treatment program if I am not currently an alcohol and other drug treatment provider?

Does the acupuncture program have to include herbs or nutritional supplements?

What is the history of how acupuncture began to be used in chemical dependency treatment?

What does the acupuncture clinic look like exactly?

How much space and extra equipment will we need to do it?

What staffing is required?

How do we get the needles?

How do we clean or dispose of the needles after they are used?

What about medical liability?

How does acupuncture fit with drug testing?

How do we find and train people to do the needling?

Could we just try it experimentally to make sure it's a good fit for us?

What technical assistance will be required to start and maintain an acupuncture component?

Is it compatible with harm reduction?

Is it compatible with 12-Step or abstinence-based treatment approaches?

Is it appropriate for mandated or court-referred clients?

Is it appropriate for adolescents?

Is it appropriate for pregnant women?

Is it appropriate for people with co-morbid psychiatric problems?

Is it appropriate for people with HIV/AIDS?

Is it appropriate in methadone programs?

Is it appropriate in residential programs?

What training is required for current program and administrative staff?

What are the steps we should take to add an acupuncture component?


Articles on this Website