Auricular acupuncture operates on the theory that the energy lines of the ear are a microcosm of those in the entire body. Hence, needles inserted into the ear can treat any area of the body.
The origins of auricular (ear) acupuncture: While the theory behind acupuncture is thousands of years old, auricular acupuncture as practiced was invented in the 1950s by Dr. Paul Nogier. Dr. Nogier noticed that cauterization of parts of the ear seemed to ease the sciatica nerve pain of one of his patients. He based auricular acupuncture on classic Chinese acupuncture, but targeted the ear only.
Benefits Of Auricular (Ear) Acupuncture
Auricular acupuncture holds that there are approximately 200 pressure points on the ear that correspond to areas of the body. For example, most of the pressure points for the head are located on the earlobe. These points are stimulated, normally through needles, but sometimes through lasers or massage.
Auricular acupuncture has been used to treat a variety of ailments. Some include insomnia, drug addiction, depression, PMS, hernias, backache, arthritis and migraines.
What To Expect
The acupuncturist will discuss your medical issues with you, then take your pulse and examine your tongue. He will then either insert needles into your ears or manually massage your ears.
Needles are typically left in the ear for about 30 minutes. After the needles are removed the therapist may tape small beads or magnets inside your ear, which should be left in place up to a week.
Recommended sessions: The number of recommended sessions depends on the issues to be treated and their severity.
Preparation: Do not eat or drink alcohol for four hours before an auricular acupuncture session. Inform the therapist if you are pregnant. Be prepared to disucss your medical issues.
Needles should never be inserted into the ear canal as this can cause nerve damage or deafness. Some people experience nausea and dizziness during the session.
Who wouldn't benefit: Auricular acupuncture should not be performed on children under the age of seven, pregnant women in their first two trimesters, people with anemia or drunk people.
Cherie Blair, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair's wife, is fond of auricular acupuncture.