Acupuncture ear points, (also known as auricular acupuncture points or acupuncture points in the ear), can complement treatment on the acupuncture channels on your body.
They are now regularly taught in acupuncture courses. If you are the patient, you don’t need to undress: your acupuncturist can easily get at them. Many therapists use them to treat addiction and acute pain.
Professionals in other therapies now use them to support other treatment, without needing to understand any of the ideas behind Chinese medicine.
Many trained ‘classical’ acupuncturists think this is a pity! Why? because it makes the ear seem like just another treatment modality for Western medicine.
Also we know that ear acupuncture based on Chinese medicine theory makes them work better and for longer.
Advantages of Auricular Acupuncture Points
What are the advantages of acupuncture ear points?
- Easy access
- Easy to clean
- Quick to use, so useful in pain or for drug dependency
- If semi-permanent needles are inserted, or patches placed there, they can be easily pressed or rubbed by the patient
- Different results come from using needles, concentrated laser light and magnetic fields, making ear acupuncture a field full of potential for research and treatment
- Like other reflex systems of diagnosis, from inspecting the ear you can often diagnose and treat pathology elsewhere in the body
- Can be used to treat many metabolic, hormonal and functional problems
- Can powerfully complement body acupuncture
Some Disadvantages of Ear Acupuncture
What are the disadvantages of using acupuncture points in the ear?
- Acupuncture points are very close together
- People’s ears differ widely so points can be hard to locate
- Some people are very sensitive to acupuncture in their ears
- Strong treatment to anaesthetise pain can delay diagnosis of or even conceal underlying problems
- The underlying complexity makes it hard to learn properly
- Great skill is needed to use its full potential
- Lasers for ear acupuncture can be expensive
- Used for self-diagnosis can lead to hypochondria.
Who uses Ear Acupuncture Points?
They’ve use ear acupuncture to some extent for many hundreds of years in China. Acupuncturists there base their treatment on the theories behind traditional Chinese medicine, although not all acupuncturists use them.
This is because Western-trained auricular acupuncturists often use a different theory to that of traditional Chinese medicine. Many skilled acupuncturists using traditional Chinese medicine get tremendous results without using ear points so don’t need this additional modality.
However, auricular acupuncture lends itself to treatment by people from other therapies, such as osteopaths, chiropractors, naturopaths, psychotherapists, physiotherapists, nurses, even dentists and doctors! To get results they often don’t need much training.
Self Acupuncture or Treatment
Self acupuncture using ear points isn’t easy because you can’t see what you’re doing!
But it’s not difficult to locate sore points yourself, and then rub or press them. Sometimes, because of the way the nerves in the ear are reflex to other parts of the body, this can be quick and effective at reducing pain.
However, be warned: you may find you have small areas in the ear that are very sensitive to pressure! You might not know they are sore until you press them.
And of course, when you are sick, you may not be the best person to decide, objectively, what to do, let alone where to prod your ears. Do consider seeing somebody professional!
History of Ear Acupuncture
For a history of Ear Acupuncture, click here.
Books on Acupuncture Ear Points
There are many. I’ve read a number and mainly use:
Auriculotherapy Manual by Terry Oleson.
This is a major text-book with an enormous amount of information: quite hard to absorb.
This is much shorter and succinct, with clear descriptions and suggestions for how to treat. However, any system of medicine needs practice, not to say training.