Auriculo (EAR) therapy is a technique of using points on the skin of the auricle (external ear) to diagnose and treat pain and medical conditions of the body. Also referred to as auricular medicine, auricular therapy and sometimes auricular acupuncture, practitioners all over the world use this therapy to treat pain, dysfunction, addictions and internal disorders with excellent results. Whether used in conjunction with another treatment or by itself, auriculotherapy is often effective when other treatments have failed. Best of all, it is safe, non-invasive and has no known side effects.
Auriculotherapy has been used as a form of health care for thousands of years in
multiple countries worldwide. Ancient records from China, Egypt, Greece, Rome and Persia all indicate its use for a variety of problems. Whether the custom of wearing ear rings originated as a form of decoration or a form of health care is still an interesting and open question.
Auriculotherapy is a natural complement to many types of healthcare practice, including acupuncture, chiropractic, western allopathic medicine, naturopathy, physical therapy and psychotherapy. It offers the advantages of being relatively easy to learn, quick in practical application, and helpful for many health conditions, both physical and mental. It is clinically convenient because it does not require a patient to disrobe or lie down, and in fact can be applied in nearly any setting or situation. Because any body part can be treated from the ear, even inaccessible body parts can be effectively addressed. For example, a limb that is in a cast can be treated without direct access to the limb.
Auriculotherapy is used quite commonly in treating addictions. It has received considerable press attention in this venue. In fact, many addiction treatment programs incorporate auriculotherapy as a cornerstone of treatment. Whether the addiction is to alcohol, street drugs, prescription medications, nicotine, or food, auriculotherapy is often helpful and occasionally miraculous.
Behavioral addictions like sex, theft, gambling and thrill seeking are also successfully treated with auriculotherapy.
Thanks to the efforts of retired Col. Richard C. Niemtzow, MD, PhD, MPH, the U.S. military has taken an increased interest in auriculotherapy for rapid pain relief in emergency situations. Dr. Niemtzow’s Battlefield Acupuncture technique is a quick, efficient and simple protocol used with great results since its inception in 2001.
The only known side effects of auriculotherapy are all positive: enhanced mood, better sleep, decrease in non-related symptoms and better treatment compliance.
In 1972, a Hong Kong neurosurgeon, Dr. H. L. Wen, discovered that the acupuncture he used on a surgical patient for analgesic purposes also diminished the patient’s opium withdrawal and cravings. Dr. Wen was using auricular or ear acupuncture, where needle points are routinely used for diminishing pain throughout the rest of the body.
Dr. Wen experimented with auricular acupuncture on different addicts, and discovered a high rate of recovery for addictions of all types. By 1974, this treatment was used by the addiction recovery and detoxification clinic of New York’s South Bronx Lincoln Memorial Hospital. It was used as an adjunct for methadone treatments.
Methadone was eventually dropped. The acupuncture treatments were so effective that dropping the substituted addiction of methadone for heroin was a no-brainer. Since then, drug addiction recovery and detoxification clinics using auricular acupuncture have been established in several U.S. cities.
The clinics are often publicly funded, but not from Medicare or Medicaid. The FDA ruled that acupuncture was “experimental.” This ruling effectively restricted medical competition by banning government insurance and discouraging private insurers from providing coverage.
Acupuncture basics in a nutshell
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is based on the Nei Ching, The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine, which is estimated to be at least 2,500 years old despite the FDA’s “experimental” ruling.
TCM has five branches: Acupuncture/acupressure, a large mostly herbal pharmacopeia, dietetics, and energetics practices such as Qigong, Tuina massage, and a unique mind/body psychology.
The philosophical basis of TCM centers around the awareness that Qi (chi) or electrical vital energy flows through the body via 12 meridians. Approximately 100 major points have been mapped along these channels. Chi (Qi) is a specialized form of electrical energy possessing innate intelligence, similar to the forces of nature.
The 12 energy channels are located in the subtle or energetic body, which serves as the energetic blueprint for the physical body. When the Qi is ample and flowing smoothly through the meridians, Chinese medicine considers this ideal state to be one of organic balance or harmony, or what western medicine considers optimum health.
Conversely, when the Qi is obstructed, disease will manifest first in the subtle body and eventually into the physical body. Thus disease is seen as a state of disharmony, where the body’s innate energetic intelligence is blocked and unable to function optimally. The strategically placed needles stimulate chi energies to unblock them or regulate their flows.
Auricular (ear) acupuncture is a subset of acupuncture. Ear acupuncture is based on the understanding that the macrocosm of the full body’s meridians is represented in the microcosm of the ear. The ear or the feet and hands contain mini-maps of the 12 meridian energetic system for the entire body.
Basic auricular (ear) protocols for addictions
Normally, acupuncture sessions’ needle points are determined from session to session. But the addiction recovery protocol is set in stone and never varies. There are two basic auricular acupuncture protocols used for all addictions, thus allowing non TCM doctors to administer them.
One is the National Acupuncture Detoxification Assocation (NADA) treatment protocol. The NADA protocol uses five needle points in the ear: Lung 2, liver, C. kidney, shen men (stress, anxiety, overly sensitive), and the autonomic point for balancing sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems and blood circulation.
The other standard protocol is the American College of Addictionology and Compulsive Disorders (ACACD) treatment protocol. Three points are the same as NADA’s: Shen men, autonomic point, and C. Kidney. But ACACD uses three other points: Limbic system for aggressive compulsive behavior, brain for endocrine glands, and point zero for homeostatic balance.
Sources for this article include:
Barefoot Wellness: Healing in the Taoist Traditions
Amma & Anmo Qigong Lic. Therapist with 40 yrs in practice.
Utica, New York 13502
Dae Anderson 315-542-6261
By Appoint. only
Note: I offer this treatment for $25 a visit. More, I never break the skin so there is NO BIO-Hazard material created. No blood, no pain. I use a light (laser) set at 632nm, the exact vibration of a healthy cell. 10-15 seconds per point– and it’s more effective than the needles, recent research shows. The effective rate (with metal needles) was about 70%. Cold Laser is proving successes to be closer to 90%.
Classes can teach you DIY laser reflex stimulation, or, how to treat your own ear. Cost is $150 per person, and this is best learned in couples that live close or with one another for mutual support in the learning process.
The missing link to success in breaking substance use disorders is the meditations. Changing the relationship we have with self. This comes in a variety of flavors, moving, sitting, standing, and it is ANYTHING BUT BORING ! There are adventures that await you.
Qigong and T’ai Chi’ are two of the oldest healing sciences know to man with roots over 5000 yrs old. Yoga and the Vedic system are it’s sister. These are free and yours once you learn them. Classes, public and private, are ongoing.
Learn some of these at MV Tai Chi.
Soon, with just a little support, your life is your own again.