Auriculotherapy is safe, effective micro-current stimulation of nerve endings on the outer ears to help balance and/or normalise a range of physiological and psychological functions.
In 1990, the Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) proclaimed to an international gathering that – “Auricular acupuncture is probably the most developed and best documented, scientifically, of all the micro-systems of acupuncture and is the most practical and widely used.”
The WHO lists 150 diseases that Auriculotherapy is appropriate for.
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WHAT IS IT?
Auriculotherapy is a therapy in which gentle electrical stimulation of the external ear is used to alleviate health conditions in other parts of the body.
While originally based upon ancient Chinese Ear Acupuncture, the mapping of specific parts of the body to specific parts of the ear was first developed in modern France.
In 1957, Dr Paul Nogier, a physician from Lyon, France, observed the occurrence of scars on the ear of patients who had been treated successfully for sciatica pain by lay practitioners. Dr Nogier’s subsequent research lead to the “somatotopic” map of the ear, based upon the concept of an inverted “fetus” (upside-down baby) orientation.
In other words, every anatomical structure in every system of the body has a corresponding reflex point on the surface of the ear!
Research studies in China and the USA verified the scientific accuracy of auricular diagnosis. In China the ear points of over 2,000 patients were assessed recording which points correlated with certain diseases and which ear points lead to reduction of medical symptoms. At UCLA 75% accuracy was achieved in correctly diagnosing the location of the musculoskeletal pain problems of 40 patients.
Expert panels were formed by the World Health Organization leading to international standardization of identification of ear reflex points.
Above: Dr Jay Holder performing Auriculotherapy treatment with a StimPlus Pro micro-current stimulator.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
THE EAR/BODY MAP
An Auriculotherapy treatment can take 10–20 minutes. You will be lying on your side or back with a comfortable pillow to support your neck. The practitioner will be running a small battery-powered micro-current device around the surface of your ear. You will hear a quiet, high-pitch noise coming from the testing and treatment device as it locates active reflex points. When the practitioner treats an active reflex point that he/she has located, you may feel a sensation of a pulse or a pin-prick: This sensation will only last 30–60 seconds for each point treated.
Micro-current is used in preference to needles, acupressure, laser and other forms of current (e.g. TENS), as this best matches the natural frequencies of the nerves being treated: Hence Micro-current is attempting to normalize abnormal nerve activities. The advanced design of the instrument utilized has the additional advantage of being able to locate the active reflex points, as well as treat.
There are no known contraindications or dangers of Auriculotherapy. (For ultra-safety it has been recommended not to have this treatment if you have a pacemaker or are in the first trimester of pregnancy - but discuss any concerns you may have with your own treating practitioner first.)
The number and regularity of Auriculotherapy sessions will depend on the severity and complexity of the health problems being treated and the severity and number of active reflex points located upon examination.
Auriculotherapy can be used as a “stand-alone” treatment, but has also found to be extremely effective and complementary when combined with other body-mind and mind-body techniques.
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© Dr Nick Hodgson 2012
2005 Victorian Chiropractor of The Year, Australasian TRT Training Provider, Fellow Holder Research Institute.
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