Neuro-auricular Modulation Training: Options for nursing and mental health professionals

Neuro-auricular Modulation Training: Options for nursing and mental health professionals

Beyond NADA Protocol/AcuDetox

The challenge for nursing and mental health practitioners interested in the 5-point AcuDetox protocol often relates to the use of needles (which is regulated by many states and often limited to application by physicians or acupuncturists). Neuro-auricular modulation goes beyond acupuncture using tools within various scopes of practice. For example with a clinical-grade point-finder, a medical low-grade therapeutic laser, or through manual stimulation using ear seeds or an ear probe.

Since 2003, the internationally-endorsed continuing education program offered by the Canadian Institute of Auricular Medicine (CIAM), trains nurses and mental health professionals in neuro-auricular modulation — without the requirement for physician or acupuncturist supervision, or even the use of needles.

For healthcare professionals (mental health, nursing, physical therapy, etc.) who have wanted to use effective and efficient clinical auricular tools (Acudetox, ear acupuncture, transcutaneous auricular nerve stimulation, Auriculotherapy, and/or Auricular Medicine), CIAM offers this and more! The potential of neuro-auricular modulation methods goes far beyond the 5-point protocol. It offers skills for deep patient/client assessment and treatment insight — all without the use of needles (or the need for supervision by physicians or acupuncturists as otherwise limited by state laws[1]).

Watch the video, Beyond Protocols: Current and Dynamic Patient Insight.

Evidence-based Practice

Like the NADA protocol, neuro-auricular modulation and Auricular Medicine are  evidence-based.[2-11] The fields of psychology and nursing have been especially  interested in the NADA protocol because it is a nonverbal, nonthreatening intervention offering immediate calming effect on patients regardless of the specific substance used and regardless of whether a coexisting psychiatric disorder has been diagnosed.[1] Use of this transcutaneous auricular stimulation has gained increasing acceptance from agencies responsible for overseeing addiction treatment, and more than 500 state addictions programs in the United States use some form of acupuncture.[12] Over 1,500 addictions programs worldwide use some form of acupuncture.[13] NADA protocol acupuncture is increasingly integrated into dual diagnosis settings to help individuals with addiction and co-occurring disorders to better cope with a broad spec- trum of behavioral health issues. As a balancing treatment, it is of universal benefit, regardless of substance of abuse, in ameliorating dysphoric states such as depression, anxiety, anger, impaired concentration, decreased energy, and body aches/ headaches.[14] An original review article from the Journal of Addictions Nursing, offers more information and research references.

CE for Auricular Methods in Psychotherapy and Nursing

Future-proof your continuing education investment with Auricular Methods, go beyond what is possible with a 5-point protocol:

  • Learn how read the microsystem of the ear as “a window to the brain”
  • Access the limbic system (including amygdala, hippocampus, pain memory)
  • Restore balance in the laterality between hemispheres
  • Uncover “triggering” and “stuck” emotions
  • And, much more

CIAM | Institute sign-in at



[1] Carter K, Olshan-Perlmutter M. NADA Protocol: Integrative Acupuncture in Addictions. Journal of Addictions & Nursing. 2014;25(4):182-187.

[2] Mercante B, Deriu F, Rangon CM. Auricular Neuromodulation: The Emerging Concept beyond the Stimulation of Vagus and Trigeminal Nerves. Medicines (Basel). 2018;5(1):10. Published 2018 Jan 21. doi:10.3390/medicines5010010

[3] Shiozawa P, Silva ME, Carvalho TC, et al. Transcutaneous vagus and trigeminal nerve stimulation for neuropsychiatric disorders: a systematic review. Arq Neuropsiquiatr. 2014; 72: 542-7.

[4] Kong J, Fang J, Park J, et al. Treating Depression with Transcutaneous Auricular Vagus Nerve Stimulation: State of the Art and Future Perspectives. Front Psychiatry. 2018; 9: 20.

[5] Fang J, Rong P, Hong Y, Fan Y, Liu J, Wang H, Zhang G, Chen X, Shi S, Wang L, Liu R, Hwang J, Li Z, Tao J, Wang Y, Zhu B, Kong J. Transcutaneous Vagus Nerve Stimulation Modulates Default Mode Network in Major Depressive Disorder. Biological Psychiatry. 2016 Feb 15;79(4):266-73.

[6] Kurebayashi LF, Turrini RN, Souza TP, Marques CF, Rodrigues RT, Charlesworth K. Auriculotherapy to reduce anxiety and pain in nursing professionals: a randomized clinical trial. Rev Lat Am Enfermagem. 2017;25:e2843. Published 2017 Apr 6. doi:10.1590/1518-8345.1761.2843

[7] Stanton G. Auriculotherapy in Neurology as an Evidence-Based Medicine: A Brief Overview. Med Acupunct. 2018;30(3):130–132.

[8] Alimi D. Medical Auriculotherapy: Scientific Bases, Principals and Therapeutic Strategies.[in French]. Paris: Elsevier–Masson; 2017

[9] Strittmatter B. Ear Acupuncture: A Precise Pocket Atlas Based on the Works of Nogier/Bahr. Stuttgart, Germany: Thieme; 2011: iii-iv, 240-241, 236, 128, 160-161

[10] Badran B, Dowdle L, Mithoefer O, Austelle C, McTeague L, George M. Neurophysiologic effects of transcutaneous auricular vagus nerve stimulation (taVNS) via electrical stimulation of the tragus: A concurrent taVNS/fMRI study and review. Brain Stimulation. 2017; 11(3):492-500. DOI:

[11] Hays SA. Enhancing Rehabilitative Therapies with Vagus Nerve Stimulation. Neurotherapeutics. 2016;13(2):382-394. doi:10.1007/s13311-015-0417-z
[32] Edgerton R., Gad P. Spinal Cord Injury: Is the vagus nerve our neural connectome? eLife 2018;7:e35592 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.35592

[12] Substance Abuse and Mental Services Administration. (2000). Uniform facility data set (UFDS): 1999 (DHHS Publication no. SMA 99-3314). Rockville, MD: Author.

[13] Reuben, C. (2005). Acupuncture & auriculotherapy: Valuable natural treatment modalities for addiction. Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients, 269(81), 84.

[14] Carter, K. O., Olshan-Perlmutter, M., Norton, H. J., & Smith, M. O. (2011). NADA acupuncture prospective trial in patients with substance use disorders and seven common health symptoms. Medical Acupuncture,
23(3), 139-135.

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