What is Auricular Accupunture?
Auricular Acupuncture or Ear Acupuncture is a type of microsystem where the entire body is reflected on the ear. By stimulating the nerves of the out ear using fine needles can elicit positive changes in the brain to increase wellbeing.
History of Auricular Acupuncture
The origins of Auricular therapy date back over 5000 years ago in China. Old records in Persia, Egypt and Greece have evidence that there is a therapeutic relationship between the outer ear and the individual parts 2000 years ago. Primitive forms of acupuncture were used in the Stone Age. Evidence from this time indicates that sharp stones, bamboo clips, fish bones and needles made of metal were used on different part f the body to treat illnesses. The Eskimos, South African and Arabian tribes adopted similar habits. The Ebers papyrus of 1550 B.C present a system of channels and vessels in the body which is similar to the Chinese system of channels. In the times of the Egyptians, woman who did not want more children had their external ear pricked with a needle or cauterized with heat. Sailors from the Mediterranean sea wore gold earnings to help with their vision. The father of Greek medicine, Hippocrates made small openings in the veins behind the ear to enhance ejaculation and reduce impotency. In recent times in the 1950’s French Physician Dr Nogier illustrated that every part of the body is reflected through acupuncture point son the external ear.
Theories of Auricular Acupuncture
Ear acupuncture helps to develop trust, encourage homeostasis, enhances emotional release, creates quiet time for internal contemplation and clears heat in acidity. It also works well with other therapies. The main function is it regulates Qi, moves Qi, tones Qi and calms Qi. M.H Cho explained the delta reflex theory (lock and key) indicated that the stimulation of the body parts caused a change in temperature of the related ear point and the other way too. Therefore the key of the ear point stimulation can uncover the lock of the somatic body response in the corresponding body part. The meridian theory based on Jing Luo’s system is based on the theory that energy travels along a system of pathways that is neither vessels nor nerves and it all collects at the ear. The energetic view rooted in TCM highlights the importance of selecting ear points based on fundamental principles of TCM. In the TCM text of Huang Di Nei Jing compiled 500 BC explains the correlation between the auricle and the body, the six yang meridians were connected directly to the auricle and the six Yang meridians were indirectly connected to the ear by their corresponding yang meridian. Dr Nogier’s research postulated the position of an inverted foetus as you can see in the below image which is known as the homuncular (child) reflex theory). The western approach shows brain imaging scans which indicates how acupuncture balances the effects of pain in the limbic system, which depends the state of the brain and acupuncture technique.
Research on Auricular Acupuncture
Oleson’s (2013) research suggests that Ear acupuncture raises endorphin levels, increases encephalin levels, raises blood serum, increases cerebrospinal fluid, changes in the ACTH and growth hormone and decreases build up of lactic acid. Usichenko et al’s (2015) study, indicated that auricular acupuncture is useful in reducing the post-operative analgesic requirement after ambulatory knee arthroscopy. Reilly et al’s (2014) paper demonstrated auricular acupuncture is an effective intervention for the relief of stress/anxiety in providers and supports heightened capacity for caring. Tan et al’s (2014) research concluded auricular acupuncture improves sleep quality in primary insomnia. Wei et al’s (2012) paper indicated auricular acupuncture is also proposed to prevent neurodegenerative disease via the vagal regulation. All this research is evident of the benefits of auricular acupuncture.
Oleson, Terry (2013) Auriculotherapy Manual, Chinese and Western Systems of Ear Acupuncture Churchill Livingstone
Reilly P, Buchanan T, Vafides C, Breakey S, Dykes P. Auricular acupuncture to relieve health care workers’ stress and anxiety: impact on caring. imens Crit Care Nurs. 2014 May-Jun;33(3):151-9.
Tan HJ, Lan Y, Wu FS, Zhang HD, Wu L, Wu X, Liang FR. Auricular acupuncture for primary insomnia: a systematic review based on GRADE system]. Zhongguo Zhen Jiu. 2014 Jul;34(7):726-30.
Terry, S The Chu-Len College of Sustainable Health Basic Ear Acupunture Training Manual
Usichenko,T1, Hermsen M, Witstruck T, Hofer A, Pavlovic D,Lehman C, and Feyerherd, F
Auricular Acupuncture for Pain Relief after Ambulatory Knee Arthroscopy—A Pilot Study Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2005 Jun; 2(2): 185–189. Published online 2005 May 11
Venable, A Auricular Acupuncture Stress and Anxiety Management Protocol Level 1
Wei He, Xiaoyu Wang, Hong Shi, Hongyan Shang, Liang Li, Xianghong Jing, and Bing Zhu Auricular Acupuncture and Vagal Regulation Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 786839, 6 pages