Preface - How AcuDestress became Transpersonal


As the reader will see in the introduction that follows, describing our work as transpersonal was not because we started with a transpersonal lens  through which we saw our world,  but because phenomena were happening when we used Smith’s 5-point ear acupuncture  NADA Protocol which were beyond what we normally expected to see and therefore called for an extraordinary, non-traditional explanation.

One could have come to that conclusion right from the outset,  but perhaps because acupuncture produces its share of extraordinary results, the original results of anti-addictive ear acupuncture  may not have given its
discoverer, Hong Kong neurosurgeon H. L. Wen  reason to blink an eyelash. While he was preparing one of his neurosurgery patients for wakeful surgery by using acupuncture anesthesia,  the patient suddenly reported a complete, overnight end of a 30 year addiction to opium, following Wen’s  practice session with  an ear acupuncture anesthesia  protocol, later dubbed The NADA Protocol  by Dr. Michael O. Smith.

This event was, in many ways, like one that occurred to me recently when I was seeing a group of  treatment refractory patients together who were considering AcuDestress,  the
use of NADA in stress management.  A few of the lookers volunteered to experience the pins directly. A few days later after the group had opted in, one of the group members came to me sheepishly and showed me that her frozen jaw joint,  clamped shut following cancer surgery on her face, and scheduled for corrective surgery had suddenly opened fully immediately after she had tried the NADA Protocol sampler. With 37 years of acupuncture practice under my belt, I’d seen this happen a few times, perhaps 5 or 6, enough times that it didn’t totally surprise me.

I imagine Dr. Wen responding much the same way when his patient suddenly reported that his addiction was “for no good reason” gone.  In acupuncture circles this is not so far from the norm that one would dismiss it,  whereas when this kind of result happens in the West we consider it extraordinary.  As it turns out, events which wouldn’t normally be expected to happen overnight or without some understandable cause is rather the rule, not the exception with AcuDetox, so we are ultimately forced to look for a way of explaining this, if for no other reason than to open potential recipients to the possible not-often-seen results  inherent in becoming a real four week session recipient. In fact during the very first group session of people gathering to undertake activities stress, I talk to the group about expecting phenomena -  events which begin to occur to them in an acausal way -  which can, if the recipients are not watchful, be ignored, totally on account of their extraordinary nature - whereas I ask the recipients to do just the opposite, to pay particular attention to them, even to report them to the group. I’ve come to know that belief runs the show,  or at the very least sets the stage,  so I am looking for people’s buy-in right away to the real effects which occur from needling these magical 5 ear points.

To elicit that belief,  two things will have to occur. One,  the phenomena will actually have to happen and be reported on. Two, I will have to have an explanation ready when people report on their experiences.  Using the simplest  explanation possible,  I suggest to people that we as human beings are generally not organized at the highest possible iteration of what it is to be fully human, and that these 5 acupuncture points act as a doorway to operation at higher levels of complexity.

And that’s what I mean by transpersonal -  that humans operating at higher levels of complexity discover intuition playing a much higher role, and further to this that intuition playing such a role is not some inexplicable aberration. Rather, this realm of possibility which is available to each and every of us as human beings. For that very reason, it’s universal access, not many people end up as poor candidates for this form of treatment. Others are more prone than I am to invoke the word spiritual as a synonym for transpersonal. While I don’t object, I prefer the term magical, not in its supernatural or it’s sleight-of-hand usages, but in the way we use it when we talk of “the magic of springtime” - something seen first as extra- ordinary, but ultimately as the way we humans are.





Roberto Assagioli  was a brilliant disciple of Sigmund Freud at the turn of the 20th century.  His experience  was that Freud’s dismissal of spiritual experiences left  psychoanalysis correct but incomplete.  Simply speaking, he encountered patients  whose need for help lay in integrating experiences of higher consciousness,  and he found if one treated them in the same way as patients suffering from anxiety and depression, that the psychoanalysis he could provide did not meet their needs. Thus he devised an adaptation  of analysis which he called psychosynthesis.  Within this adaptation there was room for people undergoing spiritual emergence,  which is often caught up with extrasensory experiences. Assagioli’s  writing on such cases,  allowed me to see that AcuDetox,  by biologically downregulating the neurotransmitter dopamine,  and upregulating the pleasure transmitter  ß- endorphin,  was allowing recipients to use the same higher level of brain organization described by Assagioli to address the issues in their lives. Even though this higher level of organization requires a different approach, the person themselves is much more of a full participant in the process, with the final result being that, properly done,  the process becomes easier to undertake than the process of most psychotherapy.  Assagioli’s original paper on spiritual emergence,  with my side notes comparing it to the process of AcuDestress. may interest the reader.  It may feel slightly complex to those who have not yet experienced NADA,  but to those who have it will make perfect sense.

           “Humans operating at 

   higher levels of complexity

   discover intuition playing

   a much higher role, and

   further to this that intuition

   playing such a role is not

   an inexplicable aberration.”

If I had been introduced to Assagioli’s work early-on in my use of AcuDetox, I would have been able to understand better Smith’s non-intervention dictum. Though we have been working in parallel
for years, it never occurred to me to ask why, and perhaps never occurred to him to state publicly why it was so important for the changes to work their way through unimpeded. But Assagioli had discovered how to intervene skillfully and according to the patient’s need. Patients need to understand what is happening to them or else they will naturally defend against it, and its potential benefit will be lost in the process.  

As we learn more and more about the beneficial effects of acupuncture from PET scan and fMRI studies, we see that we are seeing a deprogramming of the body’s early and  primitive coping mechanisms, the neurons that, as Hebb discovered,  fire together and then wire together.

Someday we will be even surer how the pins desensitize the brain’s caudate nucleus such that obsessional thinking and it’s resolution, compulsive activity, are no longer holding sway in the brain (see The Brain The Changes Itself, Norman Doidge M.D., Ch. 6 Brain Lock.)

So, the bottom line here is that 5-point ear acupuncture elicits phenomena  best described as transpersonal - phenomena which lead us to believe, newly, that the level of organization seen in most brains is not the highest level it can be - and that we are, as such, capable of reorganizing our lives by easing our way to a transpersonal level of functioning.