What is Auriculotherapy and its history?
It is an historical form of acupuncture. It may be defined as that branch of acupuncture which makes use of the external ear to diagnose as well as to treat illness. Today it is being used widely, not only in the East, but it has also gained great popularity in the West. In France, the Nogier School of Ear Acupuncture is well known.
According to the “Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine”, “ the ear is the place where all channels (Meridians) meet”. The relationship between organs, channels “Meridians” and points were described clearly in several of the ancient classics.
There is historical evidence that in the Middle East and in North Africa, an ancient form of auriculotherapy, which in many respects was similar to that of Chinese auriculotherapy, existed and continues to be used up to the present day. According to some authorities the custom of wearing pierced earrings has more than an ornamental basis. Ear Massage has been practiced since ancient times both to tonify the body as well as to excite a person sexually.
The Anatomical physiology of the Ear
The ear has a rich nerve supply derived from several spinal segments. In addition, branches of the vagus, glossopharyngeal, trigeminal and facial nerves supply the ear. There is a rich blood supply from branches of several adjoining arteries, with both sympathetic and parasympathetic fibres running close to the blood vessels. As the nerves mentioned above spread out widely and have connections will all areas of the body including the internal organs, it is not surprising that any lesion, say for instance in the stomach, will exhibit changes in the collateral branch which supplies the ear.
When a neurological representation of one part of the body occurs in any other part of the body such as the cortex, the thalamus, the cerebellum, the limbic system, the medulla oblongata or the spinal cord, the different parts are represented in a very orderly arrangement. For example, in the motor cortex the contra-lateral half of the body is represented upside down in a very orderly arrangement. Similarly the representation of the body and organs in the auricle is also upside down. Each of the billion cells of the body carries in the chromosomes a computer-memory-like representation of all the features of the human being. It is therefore not surprising that the ear carries the representation of the rest of the body, particularly in view of the fact that a number of collaterals of the nerves that supply the rest of the body innervate it. The external ear is looked upon by the acupuncturists of today as a “switch-board” for the rest of the body structures.
An Institute of Physiology in Shanghai-China, it has been demonstrated in animal experimentations that when an artificial lesion is caused in the stomach of an experimental rabbit, there is a fall of electrical resistance in the “stomach area” of both auricles. Such an artificial gastric ulcer can be created in an animal by injecting Phenolpthalein under the submucosa. As the lesion heals the electrical resistance reverts to normal. This effect cannot be demonstrated if the auricle is completely denervated of if a local anaesthtic is injected at the root of the auricle.
How Auriculotherapy has spread through-out the World?
since 1966, auriculotherapy has been widely used in all parts of China both for therapy and anaesthesia. By and large, it is more effective form of acupuncture therapy that body acupuncture in internal organ disorders. There are many acupuncture institutions in the
West, particularly in Europe, where only auriculotherapy is carried out. Dr. Paul Nogier of France has done much work to elucidate the problems of auriculotherapy. The modern revival of interest in this branch of acupuncture in the West is mainly due to his efforts. In our clinic we practice mainly classical body acupuncture and reserve the ear only for those cases where there is an insufficient response. Aurticulotherapy may be combined with either body acupuncture or Head-Needle Therapy where indicated.
The Clinical Examination of the Ear
Inspection – All areas of the ear must be examined in good light. Certain skin changes such as excoriation, vesicle, and inflamed areas, may be seen. These are known a reaction points and often have some relation to the disorders of the internal organs or regions represented by these areas.
- Palpation (for tenderness) – Reaction points can be found by pressing the ear with the reverse end of an acupuncture needle or a match stick.
- Electro-Exploratory Techniques – With a suitable electrical detector the entire ear must be explored in a set order. The skin resistance of an area may be lowered when there is a dysfunction of the corresponding organ. Overall, there is about a 90-95% concordance between the auricular reactions and various disorders.
What are the Therapeutic benefits of Auriculotherapy?
The commonest disorders treated in our clinic with ear acupuncture are: stop smoking, reducing weight, allergies and Bronchial Asthma. The most important steps the acupuncturist has to remember in performing auriculotherpy are:
- To make sure that the ear is well clean before acupuncture is conducted.
- Not to penetrate the cartilage when puncturing.
- To use short needles which are disposable.
- Not to needle the inner and outer ear surfaces of the same ear, at the same sitting.
- Not to use hand manipulation of the needle to stimulate the ear points.
- The needles may be inserted perpendicularly or obliquely. When inserted perpendicularly, the needles should hang by the skin and should not penetrate the cartilage, as it is relatively avascular and any injury or infection may have very serious consequences. After insertion, the needles are left in place for about 20 to 30 minutes. If stimulation is desired electro-manipulation is used.
The results obtained with auriculaotherapy are generally better than with body acupuncture in internal organ disorders. It is often useful to combine both types of acupuncture for maximum response.
If you want to know furthermore about Ear Acupuncture and its effectiveness in treatment of various diseases, please contact UK ACUPUNCTURE CLINICS