Acupuncture as Revolution: Origins of Social Justice Acupuncture and the Community Acupuncture Movement



  • Discover an alternative to the commonly known history of detox acupuncture

  • Appraise the influence of the barefoot doctors of China on social justice acupuncture

  • Connect the community acupuncture movement to the history of revolutionary acupuncture

  • Synthesize the history of revolutionary acupuncture into the present need for equity and inclusion in integrative health care


Many people – within and without the acupuncture profession – have been trained to use NADA, the auricular protocol for acu detox and trauma. Some of them have learned that it was developed in the 1970s at Lincoln Hospital in New York. Few people know of the deeper history of NADA, however – its origins in a revolutionary movement by Black Americans and Puerto Ricans to combat heroin addiction in their community. While little-known, this movement has had profound influences on a branch of acupuncture today concerned with social justice, racism, and trauma.

This webinar will delve into the history of acupuncture used as a means of revolution within the United States, based on Rachel Pagones’ new book, Acupuncture as Revolution: Suffering, Liberation, and Love. We will trace the influence of the barefoot doctors of Mao’s China on revolutionary acupuncture. We will see how the movement has evolved from 1970s-era political tactics to the trauma-informed approach of community acupuncture and of groups such as Acupuncturists without Borders (AWB). And we will recognize the fundamental contributions of Black and Latinx acupuncturists as well as Asian American activists to social justice acupuncture. 

While the history took place in the US, the original movement was greatly inspired by China. The movement related to revolutions in Africa and Cuba, while AWB and NADA have spread worldwide. Indeed this story is relevant around the globe to anyone interested in using acupuncture to heal illness based in social inequities.

Provider: TCM Academy

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