During your acupuncture treatments, you may have received acupuncture needles in your ear (auricular acupuncture). Or, maybe you went home with some little stickers with gold beads on your ear. What’s the reasoning behind this?
The ear is a “microsystem” in Chinese medicine. The entire body is mapped out on the ear, and stimulating these points can treat a wide variety of conditions. Essentially, we are holographic, and can treat the whole with one part, but that’s a little too deep for this quick post. Treatment of medical conditions with points on the ear has been used since ancient times, but Dr. Nogier of France thoroughly mapped the body in the 1950’s and developed auriculotherapy as we know it today.
Because the points on the ear are so close to the surface of the body, we can use acupuncture, acupressure, and even lasers to treat them.
Ear acupuncture is so powerful for pain relief, it’s being used by the military. Battlefield acupuncture was created in 2001 by Dr. Richard Niemtzow, MD. The needles used are more like tiny darts, and I don’t personally use them in my clinic because they are so painful. However, if someone is injured in battle and morphine isn’t cutting the pain, these little darts can really come in handy. They are also used in veteran’s clinics, and are an important tool against the opioid epidemic.
More uses of auricular acupuncture
Besides pain relief, auricular acupuncture is used to treat hot flashes, anxiety, allergies, addictions, nausea during flying, and much more. So, next time you are receiving acupuncture or ear seeds, remember this chart and how powerful your little ears are!