Putting Needles to Good Use
Putting Needles to Good Use

Putting Needles to Good Use

Recovery without Walls initiated an innovative approach to aid women whose lives had been interrupted by substance abuse, particularly opiates, and helped them to successfully withdraw and break the craving cycle through the use of acupuncture.

September 29, 2016


For 16 months, 28 women participated in weekly sessions paid for by RWW, utilizing three different acupuncture practitioners located in Falmouth and Mashpee. Twenty-four of the women have remained substance free. Two of the four who relapsed have returned to recovery and acupuncture. Additionally, the use of acupuncture has reduced cravings and anxiety and facilitated an overall sense of “wellness” that previously these women had not experienced. Consequently, we are seeing better choices, improved eating and exercise, and greater involvement in 12-step recovery and other treatments. The acupuncture used by RWW is full-body; ear acupuncture is also used effectively, particularly during detox.

Most of the RWW women began with one to two sessions a week. Depending on their level of need, they gradually scaled to a maintenance level of once a month. RWW has covered the cost of these sessions; however, many of the women have chosen to go more often because of the benefits and are paying themselves.

According to Michael O. Smith, MD who began using ear acupuncture at Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx, acupuncture provides a foundation for recovery and psycho-social rehabilitation. Several characteristics of acupuncture enhance overall functioning:

  1. As a non-verbal intervention, it helps in reaching resistant patients.
  2. It reduces anxiety and agitation while facilitating calm and receptive behavior.
  3. It helps develop an inner meditative core in even the most troubled and fearful persons.

If you are interested in learning more about the history of and experience with acupuncture as a tool in treating substance abuse, we urge you to research the topic through the links below or call us at (508) 540-5867.

Bill Dougherty
RWW Executive Director

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