Auricular therapy as a treatment for pain is a method of healing by stimulating different acupressure points on the surface of the outer ear.
Auriculotherapy, also known as auricular therapy or ear acupuncture, is a technique which had its origin in Lyon, France. Auricular therapy incorporates the fundamentals of modern medical science based on neurophysiology and neurology, and concepts of traditional acupuncture.
Auricular therapy is based on the idea that the entire body is represented on the auricle – meaning the outer portion of the ear and so the entire body can be effectively treated by applying stimulation on the surface of the ear. Each area of the ear, according to auricular therapy, is related to a different anatomical portion of the body.
In auricular acupuncture, the ear is seen as a micro system of the body. Auricular therapists believe that there are over 200 points on the ear that are connected to a particular organ, tissue or part of the body. So, if something is out of sync, its corresponding point on the ear may be sensitive or tender to touch and pressure, or a mark, spot or lump can be visible. Stimulation of the ear is then carried out by means of acupuncture needles, minute electric currents or a laser beam.
An auricular acupuncture session involves placing 5 or 6 small, sterile, disposable needles in each ear. The needles are placed in acupoints corresponding to the area to be treated, so they may place a needle in the neck point if you were suffering from pain in that area. It is claimed that the therapy can be helpful for various chronic conditions including rheumatism and arthritis.
This procedure is entirely pain free, and allows the patient to remain relaxed and comfortable. You may feel a tiny sensation in the ear where the point is being treated. This is usually for a second or two and then the sensation goes away. If it feels slightly uncomfortable we can decrease the intensity to where you do not feel it. Most of the time this isn’t necessary as the treatment is tolerable.
The actual practice of manipulating needles in the ear to cure diseases is not a new therapy, but a very ancient one. It has been used for many hundreds of years in some Eastern and Mediterranean countries and in China and is also now becoming popular in the UK.
The treatment duration varies according to the disease and its seriousness. Although auricular therapy is an effective treatment method, it is not advisable for all. To be specific, patients with pacemakers, pregnant women, and patients undergoing homeopathic treatments are not advised auricular therapy. Auricular therapy and acupuncture are free from side effects, particularly auricular therapy, which makes use of electrical stimulation.
Auriculotherapy is good for acute painful problems alleviating pain almost immediately or within 24 to 48 hours. Auriculotherapy is good for chronic degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia and other chronic painful conditions.
Other conditions include diseases and dysfunctions of the gastrointestinal, respiratory, urinary and cardiovascular systems. Auriculotherapy is very effective for treating addictions. In fact, Auriculotherapy has a seventy five to eighty percent success rate treating patients for smoking or nicotine addiction. There are currently more than 150 indications for the application of Auriculotherapy.
Healthline wrote that people use auricular acupuncture to tackle a range of health concerns including:
- chronic pain, especially low back pain.
- cancer pain and chemotherapy side effects.
- weight loss.
- substance use disorder.
- digestive issues.
You can find therapists for this treatment on the FHT website.
A good book on the therapy is The Beginner’s Guide to Auricular Therapy: Application of Ear Seeds, by P.Sze
There is also a great YouTube Video on the therapy.