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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 March 2006, 10:56 GMT
Can acupuncture beat addiction?
Kate Moss
Kate Moss has tried rehab clinics
Supermodel Kate Moss is reported to be using acupuncture to cope with her well-documented problems with cocaine misuse.

Moss, 31, lost modelling contracts and checked into a rehabilitation clinic after pictures of her allegedly taking cocaine were published last year.

She was pictured leaving a friend's house in North London this week with two plasters on her right ear.

They are thought to be the result of acupuncture sessions.

Acupuncture can be used with substance users to reduce cravings and promote relaxation

The targeting of the ear to produce health benefits - auricular acupuncture - is nothing new.

It has been used to treat addictions - and many other conditions, such as asthma, arthritis, migraine and hay fever - for many years, and is based on ancient Chinese medicine dating back thousands of years.

The theory is that there are 200 points in the ear that correspond to organs in the body, and when stimulated these points nourish and replenish those organs.

This is thought to help with detoxification, and, in the case of addiction, to suppress withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, agitation and insomnia.

In particular, there are five points that are most commonly used.

Pressing the ear

Treatment usually involves inserting five very fine needles into these specific part of the ear, although beads can also be left in the ear to stimulate the same points.

These are then covered with a plaster and can be gently pressed when the patient experiences a craving or withdrawal symptom

Sue Cox is founder of Smart UK (Substance Misuse Acupuncture Register and Training) and member of the British Acupuncture Council.

She said: "The two points that have been used on Kate are part of a five point formula that is specifically used to help alleviate symptoms such as stress, anxiety and depression and all symptoms associated with recovery of addictions.

"Treatment involves inserting five very fine needles into five points in the ear, what we can see in the photo are two pellets covered in plasters, these are often used as a bridge between treatments and will be helping Kate with her recovery."

A spokesperson for the charity DrugScope told the BBC News website that a number of holistic therapies are used within drug services to combat addiction.

"Acupuncture can be used with substance users to reduce cravings and promote relaxation.

"Holistic therapies have a role to play in drug therapies by providing individuals with alternative sources of coping strategies as they deal with their drug dependencies.

"People respond differently to treatments, so it is important to have a range of approaches on offer."

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21 Jan 06 |  Health

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