Author: Diana Alvarez, R.Ac.
There are many ways to understand the body and your health, one of which is by using a microsystem. You might have heard of such approaches as foot or hand reflexology. Well, in Chinese Medicine, we use the microsystem of the ear as a representation of the whole body. The use of a microsystem allows each part of the body to be accessed with a corresponding point or area on an external part of the body – in this case, the ear.
Why the Ear?
The ear is directly connected to some of the 12 cranial nerves stemming from the brain, so it is quick to relay a message back to the brain and create a change. The ear also has a unique capacity (because it is such a thin membrane of tissue) to access and stimulate the nervous system. Specifically, the sympathetic nervous system, related to our “fight or flight” response, and the parasympathetic nervous system, related to calming responses. Yes, this is an intelligent sense organ!
How Is Ear Acupuncture Done?
To stimulate the ear point, an ear seed, magnet, or very thin acupuncture needle is placed in a specific spot which relates to the area of the body or internal organ function that needs to be addressed. There are 90 ear points listed that relate to limbs, head, bodily function and senses to treat conditions internally and externally.
However, ear acupuncture is not just for physical pain. It also stimulates emotional and mental wellness, as one of the most common points used is to calm the mind and reduce anxiety and stress.
What Does It Help Treat?
Ear acupuncture is commonly used to treat sciatica, low back pain, OCD, smoking and other addictions, digestive disorders, brain trauma, chronic pain, hormonal conditions, migraines, insomnia, and depression. All of these conditions and more can be effectively assessed and treated when using the ear.
Modern Day Use of Ear Acupuncture
The United States is known for an approach called the NADA protocol. It is an ear acupuncture approach used for trauma, addiction and stress. The five points used in the ear immediately stimulate the body to shift from being on high alert to a less agitated state. It is widely put into practice in high stress aid relief situations. For example, after people have witnessed something traumatic such as an earthquake, where a whole community may be affected. Ear acupuncture is being used as a first aid response, and is a helpful way for those affected to find their way back to balance.
In Europe, Germany is especially well known for it’s research and use of Auricular Acupuncture (ear) to treat pain and break the pain feedback loop. Used by over 14,000 German physicians, it has been shown to work so well that body acupuncture is actually the less common approach used in Europe!
My Own Experiences With Ear Acupuncture
As an acupuncturist, I have seen ear acupuncture work well for anxiety, obsessive thinking, insomnia and depression. One of my clients who suffers from panic and racing thoughts was transformed in just one visit. His mind calmed down, his physical fidgets reduced and facial skin tone shifted. Seeing him for consecutive sessions really helped get him back to a more peaceful place.
Another client came to see me due to her stressful job and a lifetime of living with both depression and anxiety. After the session she looked rejuvenated, a quiet overcame her mind and her body, and she was no longer holding the tension she came in with. Ear acupuncture is a safe, effective and accessible approach and is being used all over the world with good results.
Come into Pure Body Health and book in with myself, Melissa or Brook and see what ear acupuncture can do for you! Hear hear to good health!