Acudetox for post-cancer treatment detoxification

Fiona Hardie explains the origin of Acudetox and the many benefits it has.

Oncology treatments, together with their benefits of fighting a destructive disease, also bring a tremendous amount of toxicity (as would any medication) to the body’s systems. Added to that, there is also the abstract toxicity of anxiety, fear and depression that can accompany being diagnosed with cancer.

One of the cornerstones of health is maintaining a homeostatic balance in the body. Think of your body as a swimming pool, when the acid and chlorine are out of sync, the water turns green and algae takes over. 

Pretty much the same as the body; when systems are out of kilter they can’t perform their functions properly, leading to a sluggish system and a build-up of toxins, both emotionally and physically.

To assist in creating this much-needed homeostasis and feeling of good health, acupuncture is an ancient and very powerful treatment worth serious consideration post oncology treatment, or simply just for the pure maintenance of ongoing optimal health. 


Acudetox (ear acupuncture) is a protocol derived from acupuncture except the needles are only inserted in the ears. Also known as auriculotherapy, the premise is that the external surface of the ear (auricle) is a microcosm of the body and has reflex points on it that correspond to the organs of the body. Exactly like foot reflexology where different areas of the foot correspond to different organs and body systems. 

While it’s ancient Traditional Chinese medicine we have to thank for acupuncture, it was a Western doctor in France, Dr Paul Nogier, who found a correlation between treating points on the ear and their effectiveness in healing the rest of the body. Enter Dr Michael Smith, of Lincoln Memorial Hospital in New York, who found that stimulating five specific points on the ear could assist in the withdrawal symptoms of addicts from opiate drugs, cocaine, alcohol and nicotine. 

Five points on the ear

The five points Dr Smith earmarked are Shen Men, Sympathetic Autonomic Point, and kidney, lung and liver which are major detoxification organs.

The Shen Men and Sympathetic Autonomic Point are points known for their impact on our mental and emotional strength and resolve, as well as calming our fight or flight response. 

Unlike Western medicine which views organs as only having physical functions, Chinese medicine also attributes emotional aspects to the various organs. Hence, the liver isn’t only a detoxification organ but is also associated with the emotion of anger and letting go. The kidneys which cleanse and sort through our fluids are impacted by feelings of anxiety and fear. The lungs, aside from detoxing and clearing the air we breathe and oxygenating our bodies, are linked to grief and worry. 

By stimulating the above points, a full physical, mental and emotional detox is actioned.

How is it done?

The practitioner places five needles in each ear and the client is left to sit quietly for 45 to 60 minutes with no chatting or interruptions. Patients report a quieter mind, less anxiety and a general all-round feeling of well-being and relaxation. Most go home and sleep deeply. 

There have even been reports of a diminished craving for sweets and caffeine. It’s also a great and popular protocol to stop smoking. 

Other benefits

While the Acudetox protocol was originally developed primarily for addicts, its efficacy in treating those with post-traumatic stress disorder, severe depression and illness has led to it being integrated in various settings ranging from psychiatric and mental healthcare, disaster relief, humanitarian aid, cancer and HIV/AIDS care and danger careers, such as fire-fighting. 

As a treatment post-cancer, where the body has had surgery or endless needles inserted, the ear reflexes offer a perfect platform to heal parts of the body that may be tender and painful. 

It also quietens the mind that has more than likely overthought mortality, life and family matters.

Fiona Hardie, based in the Western Cape, is a Pilates instructor, reflexologist and has experience in Bowen therapy and ear acupuncture. She is currently doing a breathwork course through Breathwork Africa.

MEET THE EXPERT – Fiona Hardie

Fiona Hardie has recently relocated to the Western Cape and is teaching Pilates online and looking to further her offerings with Rebounding. She is also studying yoga and new modalities that will facilitate the healing that is so necessary today. She is focusing on growing her online presence and when she find the right space she will open a Pilates and therapy studio.

Header image by Adocbe Stock