Aviva Directory » Health & Well-Being » Alternative Medicine » Alternative Medical Systems » Acupuncture » Auriculotherapy

The aim of auriculotherapy is to correct imbalances in the body through the ear, which is believed to be a microsystem representing the entire body.

Auricular therapy is a form of acupuncture based on the idea that the outer portion of the ear represents a map of the body. Points on the auricle are stimulated in order to treat conditions of the body. The practice is commonly used to control pain, addictions of all kinds, emotional issues, internal disorders, and other medical problems.

Based on traditional Chinese medicine, specific points of the outer ear and the ear itself are stimulated in order to generate an effect in the body, allowing it to promote and balance some bodily functions.

When a patient has pain in a certain part of the body, for example, the reflex point in the ear's microsystem will present a difference in the electric potential, as opposed to the rest of the adjacent areas. It is not unusual for that point to be painful, as well.

The ear and auricle were mapped out long ago, in traditional Chinese medicine, but Dr. Paul Nogier, of France, expanded the original Chinese charts into a more comprehensive system in the 1950s. While the Chinese texts showed only a few points for specific conditions, the expanded charts were a micro-map of the entire body, with all body parts represented, allowing therapists to evaluate and treat all parts of the body.

Auriculotherapy is an FDA approved complementary treatment for more than three hundred and fifty diseases, as well as for the alleviation of chronic pain, addiction, insomnia, and other problems, including weight management, the treatment of depression, and even acne treatment. The World Health Organization recognizes auriculotherapy as a treatment option for more than a hundred and fifty conditions.

The process of stimulating certain parts of the ear can be carried out in a number of ways, including applying massage using the fingers, applying ear seeds, performing auricular acupuncture, moxibustion, electrostimulation, or via infrared light.

Ear seeds are the size of a tiny seed, made of a variety of materials, which are attached to the ear using small pieces of adhesive tape. Resembling small earrings, ear seeds provide a low-level form of acupuncture, which may be boosted by applying soft pressure with a finger. Ear seeds were used by the Chinese thousands of years ago, although they originally used seeds from the Vaccaria plant, which are still used by some practitioners today.

Moxibustion is a form of heat therapy using the burning of mugwort leaves, a plant material known as moxa, on or near the skin. Traditional Chinese medicine also used moxibustion on acupuncture points. Generally, indirect moxibustion is used, in which the practitioner holds the moxa cone about an inch from the ear, removing it once the skin become red and warm. Sometimes, an insulating layer of salt or garlic is used between the cone and the skin.

Auriculotherapy is also known as auricular therapy, ear acupuncture, and auriculoacupuncture.

Although the World Health Organization announced, in 1990, that auricular therapy is "probably the most developed and best documented, scientifically, of all the micro-systems of acupuncture and is the most practical and widely used," the practice is often dismissed as pseudoscience.



Recommended Resources

Search for Auriculotherapy on Google or Bing