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What is Auriculotherapy?

Auriculotherapy is a technique which began in 500 B.C. in ancient China as a system of Traditional Chinese Medicine.  It spread worldwide and in 1957 Dr. Paul Norgier, a French medical doctor, who studied chiropractic and acupuncture as well as Western Medicine, developed a map showing the specific reflex points on the ear that treat specific problems.  These points, when stimulated, often have positive effects on the target area of the body causing the involved organs or tissues to function properly and create health.

What should I expect?

An Auriculotherapy session begins by the practitioner inspecting certain points on your ear(s) that may be related to your health issue.  Inspections may be involve visual, palpation, or electrical testing.  When therapeutically active points are located, they will be treated with one of several possible possible treatment methods:  acupuncture, electrical or laser stimulation, pressure, taping on a tack or seed to the skin.  None of these stimulations are painful or uncomfortable.

What conditions are helped most with Auriculotherapy?

The science of Auricular therapy has been well documented, internationally researched, and published in medical journals.  The World Health Organization (WHO) lists 150 health conditions for which Auricular Therapy is appropriate.  Examples include:  various neurological and orthopedic disorders such as:  headaches, migraines, trigeminal neuralgia, facial paralysis, peripheral neuropathy, meniere’s disease, intercostal neuralgia, tennis elbow, sciatica, lumbar pain, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer pain, dry mouth, hot flashes, etc.  It has also been successful in helping people with chronic allergies.

Auricular therapy is commonly used for pain control, addiction and cravings, weight loss, and help with mental or emotional problems.  Points and protocols exist for the treatment of many internal disorders as well.  Because Auriculotherapy can address any part of the body, nearly any problem can be treated by Auriculotherapy as a primary or complimentary form of care.

woman learning about ear points

What is the difference between ear and body acupuncture and are needles necessary?

Body acupuncture works with channel pathways which are mapped and defined in the body, as well as acupuncture points situated along these pathways.  They can always be detected electrically because they are always electrically active.

Auricular therapy is a specialized acupuncture “microsystem” of the entire human body, which involves diagnosis of electrically active acupuncture points, which are ONLY detectable if there is something wrong in the body.  Many consider this to be an advantage that Auricular Therapy has over traditional body acupuncture.

Current technology enables modern Auricular practitioners to not only locate active points but also detect polarity.  The most sophisticated instruments are used at Foothills Acupuncture & Wellness and can determine which points are most active in identifying energetic blockages/foci, and the type of treatment that is needed for those points!  Specific electrical frequencies are then used for various points and conditions and are just as effective as needles.  Lasers may also be used along with ear seeds or pellets imprinted with a remedy.

How many treatments are necessary?

There is no set number of treatments for any health condition treated through Auricular therapy.  In some cases only one treatment is necessary.  Others may require more.  It depends on what is being treated.  As a general rule, most people with long standing, chronic issues can plan on coming in for 6-12 sessions.  Perhaps twice a week at first and then tapering off as symptoms improve.

How long is a typical treatment session?

A typical session may take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour.  It really depends on the age of the patient, how much education is taking place in the session along with the extent of evaluation needed and other supportive modalities being used in addition to the auricular therapy.

Are there any reasons not to have Auricular therapy?

Pain can be an important indicator of deeper problems in some cases.  It is important not to treat any pain needed to diagnose an underlying problem.  We shouldn’t treat any pain needed to limit range of movement of an injured area of the body.  Nor should we treat women who are pregnant, and not electrically stimulate ear points of patients with a cardiac pacemaker.  I do NOT use Auricular therapy a replacement for necessary traditional medical care.  It is a form of complementary medicine only.

Are there any side effects of Auricular therapy?

Because tenderness of ear points is one of the primary diagnostic features of this method, soreness on the ear points can sometimes continue for a while after the treatment.  Also, in the case of a chronic condition, one may experience a “retracing” of symptoms.  In other words, in some cases a patient may feel their body going through symptoms that took place during a condition’s development – a reversal of symptoms, rather than immediate pain relief.  Remember, that “Eastern” medicine seeks to trigger natural healing responses, rather than mask symptoms.

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