Ear acupuncture (also known as Auricular acupuncture or Auriculotherapy) is a specialized branch of acupuncture where the ear is viewed as a microsystem of the whole body.
Did you know?
· Ear acupuncture is commonly used in the treatment of alcohol and drug withdrawal. The NADA protocol (National Acupuncture Detoxification Association) was developed in the 1970s to help people in withdrawal from narcotics and later spread to alcohol and other withdrawal problems. It has been used to benefit disaster victims and trauma sufferers worldwide.
· Battlefield Acupuncture is a protocol developed for the US military and has been highly effective as an emergency analgesia for wounded soldiers. It is a first line therapy used before medics can evacuate the patient and introduce pharmaceuticals. The protocol does not require the removal of armour or clothing so it can be applied immediately in the field.
· It has been suggested that pirates used to believe wearing a gold or silver earring would improve their eyesight. There is an acupuncture point on the earlobe called the “ear point” or “vision point” or “master sensorial.” Although there are various points on the body that may be used to improve eyesight, there are reports of people enjoying vision improvements after having their ears pierced.
What happens at an appointment?
An Ear acupuncture appointment is no different to a normal acupuncture appointment. However, it can be performed either seated or lying down, and there is no need to remove clothing.
Chinese medicine looks at the body as a whole, so you may be asked about things that at first seem unrelated to, say, the pain in your elbow. This is because the acupuncturist has to ascertain that the cause of the pain is not due to something other than playing tennis. For example, the pain could be related to diet; research has shown that an autoimmune condition such as Rheumatoid Arthritis can be worsened by certain foods.
However, it can sometimes be simpler than that. I once saw a client who came to me with recurring left elbow pain. After chatting with him about his lifestyle etc. he mentioned that he was a driving instructor. It turned out that when he was working he spent most of the day with his left elbow leaning out of the window, exposed to the wind and cold! I treated him and suggested he wind the window up a bit, and the pain never returned!. No steroid injection that time, I’m happy to say.
Once the questions are over you can sit back comfortably during the treatment. Occasionally I may also use body points or Tui Na (Chinese massage) to enhance the treatment.
What can Ear Acupuncture help?
As mentioned above, it is often used in the treatment of drug withdrawal (including nicotine) as well as pain relief, from lower back ache to migraines (I have a colleague who underwent root-canal treatment with no anesthetic, just ear points! She was happy to report she felt no pain at all). But it is also great for mental/emotional problems such as depression and anxiety, as well as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Does it hurt?
Generally, acupuncture does not hurt. Some people feel the needles as they go in, and some people feel nothing. Ear Acupuncture needles are very small solid needles, not hollow like hypodermic needles, and they are much, much thinner – about the diameter of a thick human hair.
If you would like to know more about Auricular acupuncture and how it can help you, give me a call or come and see me at The Therapy Life Centre.