Auriculotherapy involves the stimulation of specific acupuncture points of the external ear for diagnosis and treatment of health conditions. Stimulation of ear acu-points is accomplished by inserting several tiny needles into the ear points which are retained anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes. Occasionally several points may be stimulated with electro-acupuncture. Lasers, magnets, and electronic devices are also frequently used methods of stimulation. Taped products such as “acubeads” or seeds are often retained for long term use.
SOME COMMON CONDITIONS TREATED
WITH EAR ACUPUNCTURE
- Neck and
- Frozen shoulder
- Acute injuries
- Tennis elbow
- Menier’s disorder
- Paralysis after
- Varicose veins
- Restless legs
- High blood
- Panic attacks
- Menstrual pains
HISTORY OF EAR ACUPUNCTURE
The earliest use of ear acupuncture dates back to ancient China. Although much of the information on this subject was lost due to the historical “burning of the books”, the ancient Chinese stimulated many points on the auricle to rebalance the flow of energy and restore health. Documented in the Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine, written in 500 B.C., are various forms of ear acupuncture.
Auriculotherapy was also practiced around this period in ancient Greece. Hippocrates, the Father of Modern Medicine, was known to have induced sterility in men by puncturing the backside of the ear. There is also evidence that burning a point on the anti-helix of the auricle treated sciatica.
The person most noted for developing the science of auriculotherapy was the French physician and acupuncturist, Dr. Paul Nogier. Fifty years ago, Dr. Nogier, through trial and error, developed a theory that the shape of the ear was likened to that of an inverted fetus. The head of the fetus is located at the lobe of the ear, the body curls around the inside of the ear with the feet at the apex. (see diagram at bottom). He called this inverted fetus map his “little man in the ear”. Through rigorous tests and examinations, he discovered that stimulating a body part on the micro-systems of the ear, had an effect on the corresponding part of the body. He also found additional points that when stimulated would alleviate certain symptoms and diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and sciatica. His work first received acclaim in France, then the German Acupuncture Society and eventually made it’s way into Chinese translation. Today, the Chinese people recognize Dr. Nogier as the “father of modern ear acupuncture”.
In the early 70’s it was discovered that specific ear acupuncture treatments helped with the withdrawal from addictive substances, such as heroin, cocaine, alcohol and tobacco. Two Clinics, one in the South Bronx and the other in Haight Ashbury began utilizing ear acupuncture in their detoxification centers with great success. They discovered five specific points in the ear that alleviated pain, decreased withdrawal symptoms and had a strong sedative effect. These points; shen men (spirit gate), sympathetic, kidney, liver and lung were referred to as the “five-point protocol”. In 1985, the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA) was established to train chemical dependency clinicians in the NADA ear acupuncture protocol. It now remains one of the most effective therapies in the treatment of addictive substances.
In 1989 the World Health Organization of the United Nations declared that auriculotherapy is a viable medical therapy. Recent studies and clinical trials have also verified the benefits of ear acupuncture to treat a wide variety of illness and disorders.
Recent research in auriculotherapy conducted by Terry Olesen, Ph.D. with the UCLA Pain Management Center, UCLA School of Medicine has verified the accuracy of auricular diagnosis. Dr. Olesen continues his work with an integration of both the Chinese and Western practices of auricular acupuncture. In 1996 he published a textbook Auriculotherapy Manual. He is presently, one of the leading authorities on auriculotherapy today.