We have all heard of the general term acupuncture in Traditional Chinese Medicine but have you heard of auricular Acupuncture?
What is Auricular Acupuncture?
Auricular Acupuncture is a technique that has been practiced to treat diseases for thousands of years by stimulating specific acupuncture points on the ear’s surface. Stimulating the ear promotes the involvement of the neurological reflex, neurotransmitters, cytokines, the immune system, and inflammation. The mechanisms of auricular acupuncture have a close relationship with the autonomic nervous system, neuroendocrine system, neuroimmunological factors, neuroinflammation, and neural reflex.
The History of Acupuncture
A little refresher on the history of Acupuncture. Eastern medicine identifies the human body as one single system, comprised of the 12 meridians which generate the energy "Qi". A healthy body's Qi is hypothesized to be balanced, where the energy flows smoothly from within. However, once the human body's energy flow is disrupted, many different problems arise, such as mental health disorders, illnesses, diseases, and more.
The History of Auricular Acupuncture
In TCM, the ear is considered to be directly or indirectly connected to the 12 meridians. Stimulating the acupuncture points on the ear can restore the balance between Qi and blood, as stimulation assists with clearing up Qi blockages, in turn, allowing the improvement and prevention of health conditions.
A French doctor, Paul Nogier, established links between sensitive points on the ear with internal organs from extensive research. He communicated that the ear was organized very similarly to an inverted fetus, where the lobe was equivalent to the head, feet around the upper rim of the ear, and the body at the middle of the body. Now, over 100 points in the ear can be deduced to be directly linked to every organ, hormone, and system in the body.
From a Western medical perspective, the ear's innervation all connect to the body's internal organs and the rest of the body. Pressure from the needles stimulates the nerves to send messages to our central nervous system to stimulate the release of neurotransmitters, alleviating the body's pain to a degree.
What Can Auricular Acupuncture Help With?
Auricular Acupuncture addresses and treats different conditions such as:
Musculoskeletal problems such as back pain, arthritis
Hormonal and endocrine imbalances
Asthma and allergies
Mental-emotional conditions such as depression, anxiety, and stress
Sleep disorders and insomnia
Ear Seeds/Press Needles
Ear seeds are placed directly on points on your ears and kept in place using adhesive tape. Press needles are made of stainless steel and are shaped similar to thumbtacks, also placed with adhesive tape, and can be left for up to 72 hours on your ear. Adding pressure to the seeds or needles can stimulate the corresponding body part to release the Qi. It is a great option for prolonging the effects of the treatment after or between sessions.
It is important to remember that acupuncture/auricular acupuncture is a holistic approach. One may experience immediate results when it comes to deep relaxation and an improved state of mind and emotions but concerning chronic issues, it requires cumulative sessions over some time before seeing results and an improvement in symptoms.