Auricular Acupuncture 101

Auricular acupuncture is a fascinating form of acupuncture done on the ear. It is one of the most widely used microsystems of acupuncture used today. It is safe, effective and affordable. Clinically, it has many applications to treat a wide variety of diseases. In recent years, new protocols have been developed to treat substance abuse and addictive behavior.

Auricular acupuncture in Bellmore works by stimulating certain points on the ear with needles and hard herbal seeds. One of the first mentions of needling the ear was made in the classic medical text, the Ling Shu, or the Miraculous Pivot, written around the third century BC. The Ling Shu is actually a compilation of medical knowledge handed down by the Yellow Emperor Huangdi and others more than 2500 years ago.

There is also evidence that rudimentary ear acupuncture was used by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, the indigenous peoples in the Amazon rain forest and in parts of Africa. History also shows that attempts at ear scarification and cauterization were applied to the ear by European doctors as early as the 1600s.

But it wasn’t until 1957 that Dr. Paul Nogier, a French physician from Lyons France developed his system of auricular acupuncture. To many, he is considered the father of modern auriculotherapy. So, it appears that no one can positively lay claim to where it was first used. In fact, today there are many different systems and ear mapping.

Ear mapping is the correspondence of the body’s organs and anatomy to the points on the ear. Acupuncture, as practiced by the Chinese, follows, of course, the basic principles of Chinese medicine. The Chinese believed that the internal organ systems are connected by a network of channels and collaterals.

These channels and collaterals connect the parts of the body into an organic whole. Certain balances of Yin and Yang must be maintained in order to ward off disease or to keep the body from getting disease. The ear is closely related to the rest of the body and is connected by the channels and collaterals. It is regarded as a microsystem of the body.

When various disorders occur in the organs, a reaction may take place on corresponding parts on the ear. The development of Chinese auricular acupuncture is probably more derived from observation of functional effects rather than a strict correlation to the points on the ear to specific organs and body anatomy.

A good example of this is ear port point is the Shen men, translated as spirit door or gate, which is located at the junction between the superior and inferior antihelix crus and at the lateral one third of the triangular fossa. This is arguably, the most universally known ear acupuncture point in the world. If you have ever received auriculotherapy, chances are this point was needled.

Shen men, indicated for easing the mind, pain and sedation does not correspond to any particular organ or anatomical structure. The Nogier ear mapping is based on his famous discovery of the homunculus, known as the man in the ear. This is the representation and anatomical correlation of the inverted fetus in the ear.

When applying pressure, the practitioner will look for a tender response from the patient. Decreased reaction to an electrical current, if an electrical stimulation device is being used or certain changes or discoloration on the ear, the practitioner then takes these into consideration for both diagnosis and point selection.The Chinese system recognizes about 200 different points on the ear.

Dr. Nogier’s system is based on his discovery of the homunculus or the man on the ear. It is the representation and anatomical correlation of the inverted fetus in the ear. All the points are then matched to this inverted fetus and represent the different areas of the body, from the musculoskeletal parts to the internal organs and the brain.

Although not the same, the Chinese mapping system is quite similar to the Nogier system.