What is Ear Acupuncture and how does it work?
Auricular (Ear-) Acupuncture is a diagnostic and treatment system based on normalizing body's dysfunction through stimulation of points on the ear.
Ear acupuncture, is an acupuncture technique similar to reflexology, and is widely understood that the technique works because groups of pluripotent cells contain information from the whole organism and create regional organisation centres representing different parts of the body, through recruitment of more cortex cells dedicated to specific areas of the body. Thus stimulation of a reflex point in the ear can relieve symptoms of distant pathology with a reliable duration.
Ear Acupuncture is typically associated with the 3,500 year old practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine, but its actual origins goes back to 1950, when French neurologist named Paul Nogier witnessed a colleague treating their patient’s lower back pain by cauterising a sensitive area on their ear. This sparked Nogier’s interest so much so that he then developed a microsystem that depicted a neurological representation of the entire body as it relates to brain function, also known as an homunculus.
When he presented his model in 1957, the Chinese Acupuncture community both embraced and expanded on it.
Today there are a variety of auriculotherapy systems that have grown out of Nogier’s original work, but the one developed through Chinese medicine is the most common.
Looking at the ear the distribution of points roughly correspond to the image of an inverted person. Points for the head, neck and sensory organs near the bottom, rising up along the ear to the back and limbs with organs in the center.
One of the benefits of Ear acupuncture is its ease of application.
It can be provided while the patient is seated, and there is no need to take off any clothing.
This quickly became an attractive option for many people.
It’s also an effective way to treat pain without applying needles to the area that hurts.
While Ear Acupuncture can be used as a stand-alone treatment, it is often added to full body acupuncture sessions as a way of reinforcing the therapy.
One technique involves the application of ear seeds, or pellets that stimulate the “points”. These seeds are traditionally vacarria seeds (which resemble poppy seeds) and are on small bandages that hold them in place. Leaving those seeds for a few days allow the benefits of treatment to continue after the patient leaves the clinic. They are barely noticeable and don’t get in the way of normal activities.
What it treats
The spectrum of conditions treated with Ear Acupuncture is broad. Many studies have shown it is an effective treatment for weight loss, PTSD, menstrual pain, headaches, insomnia, anxiety, and stress, and many other conditions.
In 2001 when 9/11 happened, St. Vincent’s Hospital offered Ear Acupuncture in order to “reduce insomnia and offer stress relief to medical staff, city residents and emergency personnel.”
Ear acupuncture has also drawn the attention of the United States Air Force. Under the direction of Dr. Richard Niemtzow “Battlefield Acupuncture” has emerged as a safe and extremely effective alternative to narcotic pain management. It works without side effects, and without compromising a service-members’ ability to function in the field.
Ear Acupuncture may seem like an obscure sideline of Chinese medicine, but when celebrities like Penelope Cruz, Katy Perry and many more start showing off their new ear bling, you know its popularity is on the rise!