Traditional Chinese Medicine is nearly 4,000 years old. The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine, one of the first written texts of Chinese Medicine, made mention of auricular acupuncture around 500 B.C. However, with technological advances and growing research, TCM has transformed into a much gentler and specific healing system.
In the 1950’s Dr. Paul Nogier, of France made a ground-breaking correlation. He noticed that some of his patients had a scar on the upper part of their ear. When he inquired about it, he learned that a local practitioner was cauterizing a specific area of the ear to relieve sciatic and low back pain. Dr. Nogier took this a step further by researching not only what areas of the ear correlated to what parts of the body, but also how much stimulus was needed to elicit a response.
So, what is Auricular Acupuncture?
Auricular acupuncture is the stimulation of points located on external ear for the diagnosis and treatment of health conditions. The ear is thought of as a microsystem, a microcosm of the whole body fit neatly into the ear. The head is represented by the lower ear lobe, the feet are at the top of the ear, and the rest of the body is in between. Microsystems also appear in foot and hand reflexology, fascial acupuncture and scalp acupuncture.
Dr. Nogier discovered that stimulation of these specific points can be done manually, with acupuncture needles, a laser, magnets, or ear seeds. Regardless of the means of stimulation, activation of these points can be a very powerful addition to regular acupuncture treatments.
Dr. Nogier’s research is now the model used when teaching auricular acupuncture. It was adopted by the Chinese in 1958, and is now considered to be the standard of auricular acupuncture around the world.
Auricular acupuncture has been used in Europe for the past 40-50 years, but is just now starting to flourish in the United States.
Over the past 5 to 10 years the U.S. military has been using acupuncture for its current and veteran battlefield personnel. Combined with meditation, yoga, and massage it is being utilized in the treatment of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) brought on by being in combat.
Since the ear allows for every part of the body to be addressed through its own microsystem, many different conditions can be treated using only a few tiny needles. Auricular acupuncture can not only aid in the treatment of PTSD, but can also address conditions such as chronic pain, drug addiction, high blood pressure, and nausea. It has also been found to help decrease the dosage of anesthesia in operating rooms.
Auricular acupuncture is a great way to give acupuncture a try, especially if you are a little shy of needles. Calandra Center for Health and Wellness offers an “Acupuncture & Reiki Relaxation Hour” once a month. Since it is offered as a community acupuncture setting it is a great way to grab a friend and experience it together. The Acupuncture & Reiki Happy Hour focuses on stress reduction. You will also learn the first meditation of Reiki Level 1, which is a great tool you can take home with you.