About AWB

Why We Use Acupuncture for Trauma Prevention and Treatment

Acupuncture is part of an ancient medical tradition that originated in China over 3,000 years ago, and is an integral part of primary health care for hundreds of millions of individuals worldwide. For most of this history, the practice of acupuncture was confined to Asia. Since the 1950s, acupuncture has been increasingly accepted in the United States, Canada and Europe as an effective, low-cost, simple, safe therapy for pain control and substance dependence.

Nepal, survivor of terminal illness in hospital receiving treatment


While diverse acupuncture approaches are currently being utilized for stress and trauma reduction, AWB primarily uses a protocol developed by the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA) because it is simple, safe, low-cost and easy to deliver in any treatment setting. This protocol has been used all over the world for several decades, helping to reduce the suffering of millions of people affected by disaster, conflict and violence, as well as substance dependence. Where appropriate, AWB uses other acupuncture points and treatment regimens, in addition to the NADA protocol.


The work of Dr. Michael Smith at Lincoln Hospital in New York City during the late 1970s led to the formation of the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA) and the codification of the NADA protocol: five tiny needles inserted at specific points in the ear. Research shows that acupuncture can help a person cope with the stress factors that contribute to the use of addictive substances, and reduces the psycho-physical challenges of getting off of addictive drugs. Studies have indicated that the NADA protocol addresses both the addictive and stress components of drug dependency. And, when treatments are administered in a group setting, recovery is enhanced by support from the community.

The use of acupuncture for drug addiction led to its use for the prevention and treatment of trauma. Research in the past decade has shown that acupuncture is a helpful somatic therapy that rebalances the brain after significant stress, as well as the nervous and hormonal systems. Acupuncture treatment, especially shortly after exposure to traumatic events, can help prevent the development of post-traumatic stress (PTS). With more extended treatment, acupuncture can also restore resiliency for those who suffer from long-term PTS.