Ear acupuncture: Alternative treatment for drug addicts
BACOLOD CITY, Philippines – The effectiveness of ear acupuncture in treating drug addiction has yet to be scientifically proven, but anecdotal evidence suggest that it can curb the urge and ease the withdrawal symptoms of drug users.
Drug addicts who underwent this alternative method reportedly experienced fewer relapses since it has no known negative side effect. The experience of drug users who had ear acupuncture was so encourating that the treatment became part of the city’s community-based drug rehabilitation program.
Wilma Casiano, non-uniformed personnel of the Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO), is the resident acupuncturist of the city police station. She assists in the the detoxification process of local drug surrenderers.
Casiano, a crime registrar at Bacolod Police Station 2, is one of only 200 detoxification specialists in the country – 20 from the Negros Island Region alone.
Drug users who will undergo the alternative treatment will have to complete 6 45-minute sessions, priced at P50 per session.
Casiano said that drug users usually experienced withdrawal symptoms like body pain, nausea, and vomiting in the first 3 sessions, which is why it is important for them to complete all 6 sessions.
She added that a patient has different responses to the alternative detoxification method, but the dominant feedback is that they have a better disposition after the session, and that the treatment had reduced their craving for illegal substances, as well as alcohol and cigarettes.
Patients also say they feel calmer and less agitated, and eat and sleep well, said Casiano.
5 points of ear acupuncture
Casiano said there are 5 points of ear acupuncture, done by sticking sterilized disposable needles in each ear.
- Autonomic point, which is connected to the sympathetic nerve
- The “shen men,” or the spirit gate
- Kidney point
- Liver point
- Lung point
Casiano explained that these organs, particularly the liver and the kidney, accumulate the toxins of the body.
Casiano also administers ear acupuncture to the policemen which, she said, helps them feel relieved of stress from the day’s work.
She said anybody can undergo the detoxification process, as long as that person had at least 4 hours of sleep and ate before the session.
Casiano added that ear acupuncture is a known alternative cure for diseases like hypertension, back pain, asthma, arthritis, and eye strain, among other maladies.
‘Very potent and cheap’
For his part, Pastor Enrique Cansino of the BCPO Interfaith Agency Office said that the procedure is “very potent and cheap.”
Before the session, Cansino said that the client and the administrator are prayed for so “that God will be both in the healing and the procedure, that He will guide the hands of the administrator that the target point will be precise."
He said that ear acupuncture is only one of the alternative treatments for drug addicts. “We’re not competing with the others, but this could help. We have seen good results,” Cansino said.
He said that the family should be actively involved in the rehabilitation program, and not only the agency, for a better outcome.
However, he pointed out that the challenge of implementing the alternative method is its sustainability.
Cansino said the number of patients have dwindled as the session progresses since others have not gone back to complete the sessions. “We can’t control it. It’s their right,” he added.
How it started
Cansino said the wellness program was established last year through the efforts of former Bacolod city police chief Senior Superintendent Flynn Dongbo, who is now chief directorial staff at Police Regional Office-1.
“He (Dongbo) saw the value and took interest. Through him, we were able to address part of the problem, even at a small scale. We were also able to establish good relationships with the barangays because the program is community-based,” Cansino said.
Dongbo recalled the module was first introduced in the initial batch of the in-house drug rehabilitation program for surrenderers, which was sponsored by the Negros Occidental provincial government in August last year. He noted that there have been studies on the use of ear acupuncture for detoxification.
Inspired by the positive results among drug users, Dongbo said they then tapped “volunteers” to join the community-based program in October 2016.
He said their predicament at that time was the budget, so they later involved the barangays in the program.
After the drug surrenderers complete the sessions, they will undergo livelihood training at the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Dongbo said.
He said more than 100 drug surrenderers have benefitted from the program, 30 of whom have completed the sessions and livelihood training. Some were able to find employment in their respective villages.
Meanwhile, Senior Superintendent Jack Wanky, who succeeded Dongbo as BCPO chief on January 20 this year, said he would continue the community-based rehabilitation program of his successor to address the influx of drug surrenderers in the city. – Rappler.com