AcuDestress overview for patients:

a unique space where mindfulness intersects with neuroplasticity

(powerfully augmented by AcuDetox ear acupuncture) by Brian C. Bailey M.D.

If you’ve seen a psychotherapist or a psychiatrist, expect this to be different. Expect new competency that you feel good about and expect it in the course of one month. In the end, you’ll still have to work to keep it working for you but you’ll have two powerful tools which have become darlings of the therapeutic world at your fingertips. You’ll do most of the work yourself, and enjoy it. As you proceed through it, we’ll provide you with your own Getting Your Smile Back Workbook and a helpful separate web site that leads you though it from day to day.

Vastly differing methods (ear acupuncture) producing vastly different results was the first difference I found - the fetching part being that I began to see patients taking the driver’s seat, even if I never said a word to the patient. My very first patient, who’d been unable to deflect herself from spending her psychotherapy sessions criticizing everyone around her, simply stopped in her tracks, without any of us asking her to do so. I knew from the outset that I had a ‘tiger by the tail” even if I didn’t understand exactly who the tiger was. Coming to understand mindfulness and neuroplasticity were the keys to knowing the tiger.

I speak of magic, but I’m not talking about the more common ways the term magic is used - the sleight of hand that stage magicians use to fool our senses, or some mystical transcendent power (though at times it feels that way.) I’m talking about magic as we might envision it in the phrase “the magic of springtime” - a freshness and burgeoning freedom to operate at a level where things suddenly work much better. i suggest you read my book The Magic of AcuDetox; Part One.

I’m talking about being over-run and overwhelmed by how many balls are in the air one day, and the next day knowing which ball to follow, while letting go of the others - where mindfulness takes one and where neuroplasticity leaves one off.

Perhaps that’s all you need to know - but the more deeply one becomes involved, the more it is natural to want to know. Perhaps you’re reading this while actually doing your session. Or perhaps
you’re a health care provider with a patient who is currently doing or has done an AcuDestress session, and they’re asking you to explain. The following page was created to bring all manner of readers up to speed. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself viewing what occurs here from a different angle than you expected. That’s exactly what happened to me. Things began to happen that I hadn’t expected. they were good things and I had to figure out how to work with them as they occurred. As I went along I discovered the story of exactly the same thing occurring to psychoanalyst Roberto Assagioli early in the 20th century when he encountered patients who were having  highly positive but unusual things happen to them rather than the usual childhood traumas. This led him to adopt a different stance - one which became, over the years, transpersonal psychotherapy. So, as a start, mindfulness and neuroplasticity give rise to positive phenomena and our task in running the program becomes helping out clients “make hay while the sun shines”  with their new experiences.

What is the Difference Acudestress Brings?

Psychiatrist Dr. Michael O. Smith discovered in 1974 that he could replace New York City Lincoln Hospital’s methadone program which took 3-5 years to wean patients off heroine with five point ear acupuncture, which worked in three weeks. Then in 1979, the Miami Drug Court, using It with incarcerated substance addicts, found that not only was it superior to other means in treating addiction, but that it also reduced crime recidivism from 45% to 3%. Later Dr. Smith reported on successfully treating 25 cases of alcohol-addicted Borderline Personalty Disorder (results unrivaled in the treatment literature.) By 1990 Dr. Smith invited me and others to adapt his discovery to non-substance-addiction stress management.

The terms mindfulness and neuroplasticity were not widely used in 1990, and so the best that Smith and his colleagues could say was that their patients were suddenly and profoundly reacquiring the ability to learn - something that took the development of brain PET scans and functional MRI’s and Dr. Norman Doidge’s 2007 neuroplasticity best-seller The Brain That Changes Itself (which I recommend) to explain how the brain could vault from one state to another more desirable once one learned how to do it.

The Day-to-Day Process of AcuDestress

While for the first ten years we followed Smith’s protocol to a tee, he had always told us that it would need to be developed further to use in stress management. At the outset we restricted our contribution to what we did afterwards, which was to congregate people together, finding that there was palpable excitement in the air that enhanced their results, issuing from the conversations they developed with like persons undergoing similar transitions. It was at this time we made an important discovery - that there were three quite distinct pathways to recovery. You’ll learn about these in due time.


People attend their session in a group of about 12 others who sit comfortably in a circle with the pins in place for 45 minutes. They sit quietly for a period of time at first, followed by a low key conversation among group members, which is where our transpersonal approach comes into play. We intentionally answer each question - personally. There are lots of these. People, from the outset, have experiences which lie outside their usual domaine of experience. They could be unusual dreams, changes in sleep pattern, odd ideas, out of the blue which prove helpful, a lessening if the need to protect themselves, awe and wonder, moments of certainty or clarity beyond normal for that person.

It is like the acupuncture, as it is used day after day according to a schedule developed originally by Dr. H.L. Wen in China, is transforming everyday problems of coping into experiences with a greater degree of complexity. Add to this the ability to bring them up oneself, and factor in a few well-placed exercises which introduce mindfulness and shortly after, neuroplasticity. Recipients generally have an easy time applying them. There are things we can do to grease the axle, and one is to provide opportunities to see which of the three pathways fits for them. Not everything that’s needed occurs within the 4 weeks. The work of integration has just begun.


The Aftermath of AcuDestress

Mindfulness is retained after the treatment, and may even get stronger over time if the person makes a small effort to do so. We make sure everyone knows what that effort is - as it pays off well to engage it.  Things come up to get in the way of the patient’s attempts to keep neuroplasticity in play, and we deal with this in several ways. First we provide a second online book The Magic of AcuDetox Part Two which deals specifically with how to overcome the barriers to each of the specific pathways. The way forward from here may be less than obvious to outsiders, but we avail participants of exercises during the last week which they can use indefinitely to free themselves up further. It is just as well that clients not mix metaphors when it comes to moving forward, so we ask that when our patients get stuck that they return to see us - rather than ask someone else.

As AcuDestress provides an access to intuition, coming back to see us is reduced to a minimum. The patient is often his own best therapist. But, if they wish to move forward they are invited to read my online book - Fishin’ for the untethered soul. In the final analysis the tiger is gentle and tamable, but one has to get there to find out.

Questions do arise, several of which we answer on our FAQ Page.