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What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is one of the oldest, most common and dependable medical therapies used in the world. It is by nature simple, safe and effective health care. Providers use thin, sterile, disposable pins inserted superficially into specific areas of thebody in order to help the body’s ability to heal itself. Over the three decades or so in which acupuncture has developed in the U.S.,it has been proven to be not only exceptionally safe, but statistically effective in an increasing body of scientific studies. - Andrew Wegman

What is Barefoot Acupuncture?

Acupuncture as “Barefoot” means ``feet`` on the ground. It means that people on the ground in a given place are able to offer care for their own community. Our model strives to make acupuncture as a preferential option for the poor. The Barefoot Doctor movement in China trained community health workers in rural and underserved areas, who offered care for millions of people, in regions where urban-trained doctors would not work. Over the past 50 years, a variety of global health programs have cultivated this model of training the people within addictions recovery and humanitarian aid and development. The Barefoot Acupuncture Movement draws on these projects, putting acupuncture into the hands of people on the front lines of justice and healing.

What is the NADA Ear Acupuncture model?

The NADA ear acupuncture (AKA acudetox) model is a training and therapy approach involving a standardized ear (auricular) acupuncture protocol used for various health conditions. As a capacity-building tool, this Barefoot model is taught to lay health workers and local personnel, provided as a barrier-free component of any community service or activity, and offered in a group setting. The model has been well-integrated within a variety of behavioral health and disaster relief settings, including hospitals, refugee camps, prisons, churches, protests and as part of non-violent resistance.

What is Community Acupuncture?

Our Barefoot Health Promotion clinics are modeled after over 200 community acupuncture clinics around the world. We all treat in a group setting, which is traditionally how acupuncture has been practiced in Asia. We also work to make acupuncture accessible and affordable to underserved groups. Finally, we don’t make patients disrobe and use basic points and protocols mostly in the arm and the leg and the head, known as distal acupuncture.

What is Moxa?

Moxa (also known as Moxibustion) is a proven, safe, cost-effective therapy used in traditional medicine by health professionals and health promoters worldwide, easily applied in any location with few resources. The dried and aged leaves of the plant mugwort (artemisia principii) are rolled into small strips. Tiny pieces of moxa the size of a half a grain of rice are applied to acupuncture points. This stimulates the acumoxa point with direct, specific heat (vs. using a needle).

What does acupuncture disaster relief and refugee care look like?

The Barefoot Acupuncture Movement uses the NADA ear acupuncture (acudetox) model, offering mobile care anywhere people can sit. Settings like shelters and community centers, open to the public, can offer an ideal, barrier-free environment for anyone seeking care. Unlike a private acupuncture session, where the practitioner spends a lot of one-on-one time with the patient, the NADA protocol is performed quickly, in a group setting, and non-verbally. First responders and survivors sit in silence while the practitioner inserts the same points into each person’s two ears. The focus is on creating safe space for people to rest.


Why Did You Put That Needle There?

By Andrew Wegman


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History of Global Health


Research on acupuncture


Carter K, Olshan-Perlmutter M, Marx J, et al. NADA Ear acupuncture: an adjunctive therapy to improve and maintain positive outcomes in substance abuse treatment. Behav Sci (Basel) 2017;7:pii: E37.


Chen XR, Gao MH, Huang Y, et al. Clinical application and effect observation of auricular acupoints in improving patients with insomnia after earthquake. J Sichuan Tradit Chin Med 2014;32:147–8.


Cole B, Yarberry M. NADA training provides PTSD relief in Haiti. Deutsche Zeitschrift für Akupunktur 2011;54:21–4.


Cronin C, Conboy L. Using the NADA protocol to treat combat stress-induced insomnia: a pilot study. J Chin Med 2013;103:50–6.


Golden G. The lasting effects of using auricular acupuncture to treat combat-related ptsd: a case study. Am Acupunct 2012;60:18–22.


de Lorent L, Agorastos A, Yassouridis A, et al. Auricular acupuncture versus progressive muscle relaxation in patients with anxiety disorders or major depressive disorder: a prospective parallel group clinical trial. J Acupunct Meridian Stud 2016;9:191–9.


Landgren K, Strand AS, Ekelin M, et al. Ear acupuncture in psychiatric care from the health care professionals’ perspective: a phenomenographic analysis. Issues Ment Health Nurs 2019. 1–0.


King HC, Spence DL, Kickey AH, et al. Auricular acupuncture for sleep disturbance in veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder: a feasibility study. Mil Med 2015;180:582–90.


King HC, Moore LC, Spence CD. Exploring self-reported benefits of auricular acupuncture among veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder. J Holist Nurs 2016;34:291–9.


Kwon CY, Lee B, Kim SH. Efficacy and safety of ear acupuncture for trauma-related disorders after large-scale disasters: a protocol of systematic review. Medicine (Baltimore) 2019;98:e16631.


Kwon, Chan-Young MSc, KMDa; Lee, Boram MSc, KMDb; Kim, Sang-Ho PhD, KMDc,∗ Effectiveness and safety of ear acupuncture for trauma-related mental disorders after large-scale disasters, Medicine 2020; 99.8:e19342.


Lan Y, Wu X, Tan HJ, et al. Auricular acupuncture with seed or pellet attachments for primary insomnia: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Complement Altern Med 2015;15:103.


Miwa M, Takayama S, Kaneko S. Medical support with acupuncture and massage therapies for disaster victims. J Gen Fam Med 2017;19:15–9.


Murakami M, Fox L, Dijkers MP. Ear acupuncture for immediate pain relief-a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Pain Med 2017;18:551–64.



Prisco MK, Jecmen MC, Bloeser KJ, et al. Group auricular acupuncture for PTSD-related insomnia in veterans: A randomized trial. Med Acupunct 2013;25:407–22.


Stanton G. Auriculotherapy in neurology as an evidence-based medicine: a brief overview. Med Acupunct 2018;30:130–2.


Takayama S, Kamiya T, Watanabe M, et al. Report on disaster medical operations with acupuncture/massage therapy after the great East Japan earthquake. Integr Med Insights 2012;7:1–


Takayama S, Kaneko S, Numata T, et al. Literature review: herbal medicine treatment after large-scale disasters. Am J Chin Med 2017;45:1345–64.


Yarberry M. The Use of the NADA Protocol for PTSD in Kenya. Deutsche Zeitschrift für Akupunktur 2010;53:6–11.


Wang G. A Clinical RCT Study on Scalp Electric Acupuncture with Auricular Acupuncture for Treatment of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder [Master’s degree]. Chengdu Univ Trad Chin Med 2010.


Wang Y, Hu YP. Acupuncture treatment of 69 cases of post-traumatic stress disorder. Henan Tradit Chin Med 2009;29:291.


Wang Y, Hu YP, Wang WC, et al. Clinical studies on treatment of earthquake-caused posttraumatic stress disorder using electroacupuncture. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2012;2012:431279.


Zhang Y, Feng B, Xie JP, et al. Clinical study on treatment of the earthquake-caused post-traumatic stress disorder by cognitive-behavior therapy and acupoint stimulation. J Tradit Chin Med 2011;31:60–3.

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