Ear Acupuncture

At Crew we offer free weekly drop in acupuncture services by qualified practitioners. These happen in our offices on Anchor Close (around the corner from the advice shop) on Tuesdays 5.30-6.30pm.  If you haven't been to our ear acupuncture sessions before, please come 15 minutes early to your first session so that we can tell you more about the service and answer any questions that you might have.

Diagram showing the 5 acupuncture points in the ear

What is ear acupuncture?

Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese method of curing and preventing illness which involves inserting small needles into parts of the body. The theory behind ear acupuncture is that the whole body can be mapped out on the ear so it is possible to treat the whole body just by inserting needles into points in your ears. The NADA (National Acupuncture Detoxification Association) protocol focuses on five acupuncture points in the ear. These five points affect body functions and are concerned with cleansing the body.


People's experiences of acupuncture differ but these may be some of the benefits:

  • This treatment can help people relax and relieve stress and anxiety.
  • Helps to reduce withdrawal symptoms for people who are using drugs and are trying to stabilize, reduce or stop using.
  • Many people who take drugs have problems sleeping and so it can help to regulate sleep patterns as well as to regulate mood and make you feel more calm.

How does it work?

The Eastern philosophy tells us that all living things have an energy or life force called the Qi (pronounced chi). The Qi flows around your body in channels called meridians which are connected to organs of the body as well as a wider range of functions such as emotional, psychological and spiritual states of being. By placing needles in certain points along these meridians, an acupuncturist can manipulate the Qi to help restore its balance so that it flows freely and smoothly round the body to help maintain and restore health.

What to expect

Ear acupuncture is run as a group session and we usually have between 4 and 6 people attending these sessions. The sessions themselves last around 40 minutes.

First, the practitioner will go around the group and insert 5 needles into each person's ear - the needles used are made of stainless steel, are sterile and disposable (they are used only once).The needles are very fine so most people hardly feel them going in and they should not be painful. Once the needles are in you may feel a warmth or tingling in your ears. If you feel anxious at any point or feel dizzy or light-headed let the practitioner know.

We ask people not to talk during the session but there will be relaxing music playing in the background. The practitioner will ask everyone to close their eyes and will sit with the group and take you through a relaxation exercise which lasts for most of the session.

At the end of the session the practitioner will take out the needles from your ears and ask if you would like seeds (tiny studs) placed on your ear to help continue the effect of the treatment.

You may feel sleepy following a session so if you drive, we would advise that you don't drive directly after a session.

About the group

The ear acupuncture sessions, although they may well be with a small group of service-users, are not in the form of a therapeutic group, and we ask people coming along to the sessions to keep talking to a minimum before the session starts to allow the group time to relax, and to ensure the space remains confidential and open to everyone's needs.

However, following the session, the group is free to share their experience of the session - we just ask that everyone respects the boundaries of others and refrains from sharing or asking for personal information.

How do I get an appointment?

Our acupuncture sessions are a drop in service so you can just turn up at the times listed above. We ask people who are attending their first session to arrive 15 minutes early so that the practitioner can explain what will happen and answer any questions that you may have. If you have been for a session before we ask that you make sure that you arrive on time as we will start the sessions promptly and unfortunately cannot let anyone join the session once it has started.