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Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years and has crossed many cultures; it is a non toxic, holistic way to treat many ailments. In the last 15 years in England we have been using a form of auricular acupuncture (acu-detox) to help with addiction, mental health problems and PTSD. Acu-detox treatments help clients/patients enormously with their recovery, acu-detox is easy to administer and very cost effective.

With the pressure of services in England having their budgets slashed and services closing due to government cuts, acu-detox protocols could be used in many different settings and also in out-patient based treatment programs.

Recently Acu-detox Training Workshops (ATW) and the Scottish Acupuncture Forum (SAF) have been in contact with Local MSP’s in Scotland to discuss the use of acupuncture/acu-detox protocols for treatment for addiction/mental health/PTSD. The aim is for Acu-detox treatment protocols to be included in the new “Drug Strategy” policy for Scotland. The stumbling block always seems to be the same old question, “is there any evidence based data to suggest acupuncture works”.

In a recent NICE report, NICE stated is “there is no evidence to suggest acupuncture works for addiction”. NICE did not state acupuncture for addiction does not work but, suggested there is little evidence to prove acupuncture works.

Services, Acu-detox practitioners, and clients know the value of acu-detox treatments, but we need to be able to provide evidence of service users/patient’s benefiting from acu-detox treatments.

ATW would like to see the same approach in England as we are doing in Scotland, we would ask service providers and practitioners to start to collect data that can contribute to the evaluation of our acu-detox treatment programs and supply data to be collated into a report that contributes to evidence based data.

Although people working in the services see every day that service users/patients benefit greatly from acu-detox treatments and all the major and minor services providers in Scotland use acu-detox protocols, we need the services to start to evaluate acu-detox treatments at ground level and collate all relevant data to provide evidence base data.

We have an Acu-detox Evaluation Sheet we are currently using that clients/patients can evaluate their treatment and how they feel on a weekly basis. We have slightly adapt this evaluation sheet so all services/practitioners can collect their own acu-detox evidence. The evaluation sheet uses a tick box system 1 to 10, with 16 common symptoms. The evaluation sheet would be given out at the end of each week of treatment for the length of their treatment program, all information would be collated and centralised.

Download Acu-Detox Evaluation Sheet >>

We are hoping to ask Manchester University to collate all information collected and to be made into a report which will contribute to evidence base data for acu-detox treatment programs. Hopefully we can then move forward passed the “no evidence based” argument and start looking at acu-detox programs as a legitimate tool for recovery.

We do have an example of how beneficial the evaluation sheet is for collecting useful data, the report comes from HMP YOI Wetherby and is very positive. We would hope services and practitioners use this report as an example for collecting their own data.

We also feel it would be very beneficial if service providers would look at the current evaluation sheet and discuss if other subjects should be included into the evaluation sheet or if the current content of the evaluation sheet covers what is required to collect relevant information. We are also happy for services to change the evaluation sheet to suite their purpose.

It takes very little work to ask clients receiving acu-detox treatments to fill in the evaluation sheet once a week for the length of their treatment program. The evaluation sheet also helps clients see how well they are progressing in their own recovery.

We appreciate your participation in collecting this data. We feel it is the next step forward to providing a more Holistic treatment program to work alongside existing treatment programs.

“Rather light a candle than complain about darkness”
– Old Chinese Proverb

Read about the “Keppel Unit Report 2015” as an example.

Good luck and thank you all.

Steve Pinnington