The Laramie-based free stress relief clinics reopened Tuesday and feature twice weekly services hosted by the Laramie Plains Civic Center.

The clinics are scheduled for noon on Tuesdays and Fridays in the Phoenix Ballroom on the second floor. Elevator access is located at the Southeast corner of the building.

Tuesday marked exactly six months from when the community mental health service had to close because of the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Up until mid-March, the Wyoming Free Stress Relief Clinics, a state-based nonprofit, operated five weekly clinics in Laramie, one in Casper, and one in Pinedale.

The clinics are free of charge and members of the community can attend as often as they would like. The clinics offer ear acupuncture treatments to help relieve stress, balance emotions, access greater calm and sleep better.

The auricular treatment, known as the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA) protocol, can also assist anyone struggling with addiction, heavy use of substances, and using as a means of coping with very difficult life situations, particularly as brought on by COVID-19.

It can significantly reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms if a person chooses to reduce or entirely stop their use. The national headquarters that provides training, outreach and advocacy of the NADA protocol is located in Laramie and won an award from the Wyoming chapter of the National Association of Social Workers for the 2019-20 Organization of the Year, and its executive director, Sara Bursac, received an Emerging Leader award.

Roots of the NADA protocol stem from the pioneer efforts of Black and Hispanic communities coming together in the South Bronx in the 1970s to demand access to healthcare and drug detoxification from the then heroin pandemic, according to a statement from the organization. Using acupuncture as a form of non-pharmacological detox was so radical it led to imprisonment, government surveillance and outright violent attack of individuals who founded what was known as Lincoln Detox.

The efforts of those early pioneers helped with the founding of NADA in 1985, which operates to this day in Laramie. Local NADA trainers helped spark the start of the free stress relief clinics, which celebrated its sixth year last April.

In accordance with current awareness of how the coronavirus is contracted and spread, the clinic providers will be taking every measure available to reduce the risk of transmission, to either the clinic attendees or the providers. Masks are required.

More information about policies and procedures clinic providers will follow will be posted on the Laramie Free Stress Relief Clinics Facebook group, and currently, clinic size will be limited to 15 people on a first come, first served basis. For more information, visit the Facebook page or call (307) 460-2771.

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