Auricular Therapy

Auricular Therapy

The development of modern auriculotherapy (ear acupuncture) has been one of the greatest acupuncture tools that has helped shape the way that practitioners can treat these particular imbalances in the body. Although auriculotherapy has its historical origins in ancient China, recent discoveries through the work of Dr. Paul Nogier, M.D. of France has grown this treatment modality over the past several decades. Dr. Nogier was fascinated with the ear because this rare organ is comprised of all three embryonic tissues (endodermic, and ectodermic, and mesodermic) and it acts a micro-system to the rest of the body. Through various studies over the years, he helped bridge a gap between Eastern and Western medicine by discovering that the ear had hundreds of specific points that, when stimulated, would cause a reaction in our central nervous system and positively affect corresponding organs, glands, and musculoskeletal systems. Unlike acupuncture body points that have a specific locus on the body that can always be detected, auricular points on the ear can only be detected (through physical examination or electrical conductivity testing) when there is a problem in the corresponding part of the body that relates to that portion of the ear.

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How we use Auricular Therapy in our clinic

We primarily use a device called a Point-O-Select at our clinic. This electronic device uses a small probe that we use to lightly touch the surface of the ear and measure the electrical resistance at various locations. We use this information to determine which points in the ear are underactive and overactive, and use the same point-o-select to stimulate the ear points with a mild electrical current (at frequencies specified by Dr. Nogier’s research). This outer ear stimulation not only targets the specific embryonic tissue, but it also stimulates the densely supplied nerve endings from the somatic nervous system and autonomic nervous system in the ears. Auricular acupuncture is considered to have a reflexive effect on various organs by regulating the function of the autonomic nervous system and by stabilizing the homeostatic function of the body. In short, think of the ear as a keyboard for the brain – one that we can use to stimulate various organs, musculoskeletal systems, and even specific portions of your brain.

A key component of all auricular therapy is balancing the vagus nerve – the nerve branch in the photo above that is in green. The vagus nerve controls the activity of the autonomic nervous system, which innervates the things that are own auto-pilot in our bodies. A few examples are: the cardiovascular, respiratory, and gastrointestinal systems and it also has an effect on smooth muscles, blood vessels, sweat glands, and the endocrine system. Numerous studies continue to show that a vagal tone can be balanced by using auricular acupuncture and the frequency therapy of Dr. Paul Nogier.

Auricular Therapy
Auricular Therapy
The ear provides endless options to treat any ailment in body, but we typically find it most appropriate for:

  • Stress and anxiety
  • Smoking cessation
  • Curbing other addictions and cravings
  • Brain fog
  • Pain
  • Insomnia and other sleep issues
  • Vagal nerve toning – auto-immune patients, patients with various ailments throughout their entire body, etc…

Auricular therapy is included in all acupuncture treatments (when appropriate) or can be booked online via our website as an a la carte service.

Care is taken to make sure that auricular therapy is not uncomfortable. Most patients describe the sensation as a light buzz or tingling sensation in the ear. We usually treat about 5-7 points in each ear, switching up some point stimulation locations on each side. Some patients say that they feel physical reactions in their body while receiving auricular therapy, but many experience the overall effects of the therapy the same day. The most common feedback that we hear from patients is a deep feeling of relaxation, mental clarity, and that they had one of the best nights of sleep that night in a very long time.

While the Point-O-Select is the preferred way of stimulating the ear in our clinic, we do occasionally use acupuncture needles, ear seeds (round organic seeds under a tiny square adhesive used to provide acupressure to ear spots), and ASP (semi-permanent needles). We are trained on the NADA protocol to help curb cravings (smoking, alcohol, narcotics, sugar, etc…) and also are certified in Battlefield Acupuncture to use ear spots to reduce overall pain sensations in the entire body. Battlefield Acupuncture is a selective therapy used to reduce overall pain in the body. We use our own professional discretion to determine if Battlefield Acupuncture is right for out patients (i.e. we do not simply want to take away pain if it will exacerbate the underlying issue), so feel free to reach out to use for a free office consultation if you want to see if this therapy will work for you. On average, we have about an 80% success rate of taking any patient’s level of pain (on a scale of 0-10) and reducing it down to a 2/10 or lower before they leave the office.

While nothing beats an auricular treatment at our clinic, there is one amazing point that many of us can stimulate ourselves when we get overly stressed throughout the day. Located in the upper portion of our ear is a structure called the triangular fossa (outlined in green in the side graphic). Within the outer 1/3 of that structure is a point called Shen Men, or the “Divine Gate” point (depicted with the red dot). This point helps with a wide range of ailments including: tranquilizing the mind, alleviating stress, easing tension and headaches, reducing physical pain in the entire body, lowering blood pressure, etc… . To stimulate this point, simply reach up and pinch the front and back of this ear point with your index finger and thumb and massage gently 4 to 5 times per day (or as needed). Take a few deep breaths as you stimulate the point and watch to see how it affects you. You may soon find that this miraculous point will be a must-have tool for your daily life.