Ear acupuncture is used to enhance the body's flow of vital energy (chi or qi) and to bring about a balance between yin and yang (two conflicting but complementary energies) inside the internal organs.

What is ear acupuncture?

If you're looking to improve your health, your ear may hold the solution. Ear or Auricular acupuncture is a form of acupuncture that involves inserting needles into designated points in the ear. Stimulating these points is believed to promote healing in different regions of the body.

Also called auricular therapy or Auriculo-acupuncture, ear acupuncture can be incorporated into regular acupuncture treatments.

Though ear acupuncture is largely based on the essentials of traditional Chinese medicine (a kind of alternative medicine that originated in China), it was created from the mid-20th century by French scientist Paul Nogier.

Auricular acupuncture can be used for a broad range of signs, and it's particularly helpful to alleviate pain, calm the mind, treat allergies and infectious diseases, modulate endocrine system disorders, and treat chronic illness and functional disorders. Additionally, it is used for withdrawal syndrome. Different health benefits that ear acupuncture may help you with are given below.

See: Auricular Acupuncture for Relief of Hypertension and Insomnia

Ear acupuncture benefits

Ear acupuncture can help with many conditions:

1. Various debilitating diseases: Auricular therapy has a powerful function to prevent pain; frequently, the pain will be relieved when the needle is inserted. It may be used to treat pain like the following:

A. Pain from illnesses: Cholelithiasis, Tonsillitis, appendicitis, and mastitis.

B. Pain from injury: Sprained tendons, broken bones, cuts, burns, and dislocations.

C.Pain from nervous system disorders: Sciatic nerve pain, Trigeminal neuralgia, migraine, and herpes zoster.

D. Pain after surgery or operation: Pain from surgical instruments, incisions, and scar tissues.

E.Pain from tumors: Headache and gut pain because of tumor pressure.


2. Infectious diseases: Disorders such as Pharyngitis, pneumonia, tonsillitis, pelvic inflammatory disease, ear disease, enteritis,  bladder disease, cholelithiasis, enteritis, Bell's palsy, rheumatoid arthritis, and pustulation. In this case, auricular acupuncture has the purpose of reducing pain and swelling.

3. Functional body disorders: Such as irregular menstruation, irregular heartbeat, neurasthenia, hysteria, sexual dysfunction, and irritable bowel syndrome. The therapy will have the effect of regulating and balancing the body's functioning.

4. Endocrine system issues: Conditions such as menopausal symptoms, infertility, menstrual disorders, hyperthyroidism, obesity, and diabetes.

5. Allergic conditions: Medical conditions such as asthma, allergies, purpura, colitis, allergic sinusitis,  and rheumatoid fever. The therapy will have an anti-inflammatory effect and will stimulate the immune system to reduce the allergic reaction.

6. Chronic diseases: Diseases like low back pain, leg pain, frozen shoulder, indigestion, and numbness of the extremities. Ear acupuncture may improve these conditions and alleviate pain.

7. Epidemic diseases: disorders such as dysentery, influenza, whooping cough, fever, and lung tuberculosis.

8. Wellness care: Ear acupuncture may be used To reduce illness, for anesthesia, to shorten labor and reduce pain, such as inadequate lactation, smoking cessation, substance abuse detoxification, motion sickness, and weight control.

See: Auricular Acupuncture for Success Case of Metabolic Syndrome

Auricular acupuncture for conditions

Ear acupuncture is used to enhance the body's flow of vital energy (chi or qi) and to bring about a balance between yin and yang (two conflicting but complementary energies) inside the internal organs.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, all these effects are deemed essential in treating disease and attaining health.

In CAM or complementary & alternative medicine, ear acupuncture is typically used for these and other health ailments:

- Allergies

- Stress

- Arthritis

- Persistent pain

- Constipation

- Depression

- Fibromyalgia

- Headaches

- Insomnia

- Irritable bowel syndrome

- Low back pain

- Migraines

- Heart health

Additionally, ear acupuncture is sometimes used to boost mood, aid in smoking cessation, relieve pain, promote sounder sleep, relieve stress, and encourage weight loss. Though large-scale clinical trials on-ear Acupuncture are lacking, numerous studies indicate that this therapy may assist in the treatment of an assortment of health conditions. Here is a look at several findings on ear acupuncture and its possible health benefits.


Insomnia

Several studies suggest that ear acupuncture may help alleviate insomnia. These research studies include a 2003 trial that was published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine. This study analyzed the effects of a kind of ear acupuncture, which involves using magnetic pearls to stimulate acupuncture points.


For the analysis, 15 older people with insomnia were treated with ear acupuncture for three weeks. Results revealed that participants experienced substantial growth in both the quality and quantity of sleep, with improvements lasting for six months after therapy ended.


Smoking Cessation

The research on ear acupuncture's effectiveness as a smoking cessation aid has not yielded definitive results so far.

Research results published in the Swiss Journal of Research in Complementary and Natural Classical Medicine indicates ear acupuncture maybe help individuals to stop smoking habit. The study followed 126 smokers for a year who used ear acupuncture and found over 40 percent of subjects were smoke-free at the end of the year.

According to the study's authors, this achievement within the time frame makes ear acupuncture a competitive alternative to orthodox medicine withdrawal procedures.

In another shorter-term study of five weeks published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, a trial between 125 people discovered that ear acupuncture was no more effective than placebo therapy. The study included five consecutive weeks of once-a-week remedies.


Migraines Treatment

Ear acupuncture may be helpful in the treatment of migraines. This result is according to a study published in Acupuncture & Electro-Therapeutics Research examining findings on 35 migraine patients. The researchers determined that two weeks of weekly ear acupuncture treatments resulted in significant improvements in mood and pain.


Post-Surgery Pain

According to a report published in the Journal of Alternative And Complementary Medicine in 2010, researchers sized up 17 research on ear acupuncture's effectiveness in pain control.4 The report's authors highlight that ear acupuncture may be effective for the treatment of an assortment of forms of pain, particularly postoperative pain.


Constipation

Ear acupuncture may aid in the treatment of constipation, based on a 2010 study review. In a study published in the Journal of Alternative And Complementary Medicine, the research team analyzed 29 research on the use of ear acupuncture in constipation control and found it effective for stimulating bowel movements.


Heart Health

A research study indicates that the technique can enhance heart health. According to research conducted by a team located in China and Austria, auricular acupuncture increases heart rate variability (HRV). HRV suggests the body's ability to regulate the time interval between heartbeats and also to control the heart beating rate.


Increasing heart rate variability with ear acupuncture

Unhealthy individuals may have low HRV. HRV is associated with medical conditions like congestive heart failure, mortality following myocardial infarction, and diabetic neuropathy. A Low HRV is typically also found in patients with a post-traumatic anxiety disorder, and people with increased heart rates brought on by high stress. Auricular acupuncture's ability to decrease HRV can assist with these medical conditions.

The researchers noted that HRV changes significantly during auricular acupuncture, and in fact, increases during auricular acupuncture.

Auricular acupuncture or ear acupuncture stems from the fundamentals of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). The over 200 acupuncture points in the ear help regulate many organs and functions of the body. In TCM, specific ear acupoints are used for sedation, pain relief, clearing the heart, and relaxing the mind.


Adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle

By integrating Acupuncture into your wellbeing routine, you may cut your risk for heart disease. Steps to avoid heart disease include quitting smoking, managing high blood pressure, maintaining a healthy weight, reducing anxiety, and maintaining a balanced sleep cycle. Acupuncture -- such as auricular acupuncture -- can help with all these health objectives.

In addition to improving overall well-being, auricular acupuncture has been used successfully for several years to treat a broad assortment of health conditions and disorders, such as dependence, withdrawal symptoms, stress, anxiety, mood swings, and heart issues, amongst others.

The benefits of receiving Auricular acupuncture for overall heart health include:

- Helps with smoking cessation

- Lowers blood pressure

- Combats weight gain by curbing hunger

- Manages stress and anxiety

- Improves sleep and treats a broad selection of sleep issues

- Increases HRV


Addiction

Ear acupuncture is often included as a component Of the treatment in cases of dependence on alcohol, narcotics, medication, nicotine, and other drugs. Acupuncture reduces the most frequent withdrawal symptoms that are a worry, anxiety, and a craving for drugs. Most people that are given acupuncture sleep better, which gives them greater power to get through rehabilitation. Ear acupuncture ought to be given as an integrated portion of a therapy program with psychosocial support. Detoxification should take place under appropriate supervision.

In the case of addiction to drugs, it can be harmful to withdraw the specific medicine Immediately. Such cases need a sequential and systematic reduction of the dose. At each lowering of the dose, the patient will suffer withdrawal symptoms, and ear acupuncture can help the individual through these difficult periods.

During the worst of the withdrawal ear, Acupuncture ought to be provided daily. Afterward, treatment could be given at longer intervals.


See: Low FODMAP Diet For Irritable Bowel Syndrome IBS Relief

Balacing effect

Ear acupuncture includes a balancing and homeostatic effect. The same acupuncture point in the ear can be used to treat over as well as under-functioning of the organ. The point Hunger, for example, may be used to deal with both an appetite that's huge and one that's tiny. Likewise, Blood Pressure can be used to deal with both high and low blood pressure.


See: Anxiety, Depression, Hairloss, PMS, & Wrist pain with Bisoma & Tetrasoma Acupuncture, Sasang Herbs

Left or right ear? Does it matter?

As a guideline, reflex points become active in the ear on the same side as the painful or damaged body part. Functional points generally become active on the dominant side. In the first case, the practitioner has to deal with functional points in the perfect ear of a right-handed individual and in the left ear of a left-handed person or treat the two ears.


See: Acupuncture for Fibromyalgia pain relief

Ear acupuncture points

How many points are there?

There are over 200 acupuncture points in the ear. In 1990, the World Health Organization (WHO) made a standardized collection of 39 auricular points. Of those 39 standard points, ten masterpoints are frequently utilized in many auricular acupuncture treatments.

The most commonly used points in the ear include point zero, 

kidney, ear shenmen, and sympathetic.


These are the ear acupuncture point bank for addiction:

1. Sympathetic Autonomic Point

2. Shen Men

3. Kidney (C)

4. Lung

5. Liver

6. Craving

7. Point Zero

8. Mouth

9. Nicotine

10. The V-point

11. Neck

12. Brain

13. Lesser Occipital Nerve

14. Heart (C)

15. Omega Prim

16. Frustration

17. Aggression

18. Hypothalamus

19. Master Cerebral

20. Jerome's Point

21. Depression

22. Bridging Point


See: Acupuncture for Gestational Diabetes treatment

What happens in a treatment session?

Acupuncture treatment sessions can differ from one practitioner to the next. Some use a combination of acupuncture points, while others might focus primarily on the masterpoints. A practitioner will begin by going over the symptoms that you want to address and tackle. Just like with a doctor's visit, they'll ask you questions regarding your mental health issues, digestion and diet, sleeping habits, past or current medical problems, and family history.

If you are having acupuncture done in your ear, you will probably spend the session in a seated posture. But if you have other points stimulated, you might be asked to lie on your back, stomach, or side. Then, the practitioner will insert needs. The needles may sting briefly, though many people do not report feeling anything during the session. With the needles inserted, you will sit or lie quietly for between 10 and 20 minutes. Lastly, the needles will be eliminated, which is generally painless.



See: Acupuncture treatment for diabetes type 2

Precautions & side effects

When performed by a trained and skilled acupuncturist, acupuncture is fairly secure, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.


If acupuncture is not performed correctly or needles are not sterile, you might be at risk for severe side effects. Licensed acupuncturists in the USA should use disposable needles, so receiving acupuncture from a licensed professional should minimize your risk for complications.

Some people do experience mild side effects following an acupuncture session, for example:

- nausea

- vomiting

- pain or tenderness around the involved areas

It's also better to avoid acupuncture for those who:

- are pregnant, as some factors may cause labor

- have a pacemaker, which might be affected by the gentle electric pulse that is sometimes used with acupuncture needles

- take blood thinners or have a bleeding disorder

If you have decided to try acupuncture, it is vital to choose a professional acupuncturist with positive outcomes for your health concern.

See: Herbs to lower high blood pressure

Group therapy

Ear acupuncture can, particularly in cases of Treatment for drug addiction, withdrawal symptoms, or anxiety, be given to a group of individuals. This makes it extremely economical. Both space and time are stored in treating a group of sitting, fully dressed sufferers.

Another advantage of group therapy is that it may be stressful for patients with high stress. In an ear-acupuncture session, the individual can move during therapy. In a body acupuncture session, the patient must lie still for 20-40 minutes. 

Ear acupuncture enables patients who might be worried and full of anxiety or can be in such pain that they can't lie still for extended periods, to undergo more readily the advantages of acupuncture.

An ear acupuncturist can provide several such group sessions an hour. Often existing premises like an ordinary room in a home or office, a living room, or a dining area may be used. No bulky and expensive examination benches are necessary.

Ear Acupuncture can be treated in simplified forms. The Research Team from Nanking Army Ear Acupuncture summed this up in the 1960s:  'Be it outside, indoors, in the open field, factory workshop, battle, trenches or classroom, ear acupuncture could be implemented.'

See: Chemotherapy side effects with Bisoma Acupuncture

Diagnostic Efficacy of ear acupuncture

Auricular or ear acupuncture provides a scientifically verified means of identifying areas of pain or pathology in the body. In auricular diagnosis, specific problems within the body are shown by regions of the external ear, which are darker, discolored, or flaky. Pathological ear issues are more tender and have higher levels of skin conductance than other regions of the auricle. The subtle changes in auricular reactivity may identify conditions where the individual is only slightly conscious. A new practitioner's confidence in auriculotherapy is often bolstered by the observation of reactive ear factors, which turn out to correspond to health issues that weren't previously reported by a patient.

See: Fibromyalgia and auto-immune treated with Bisoma acupuncture and Sasang Asian herbs.

Summary

Acupuncture in the ear is another treatment that might help with common health problems, from chronic pain to digestion difficulties. If you are interested in trying alternative remedies or have not had much luck with other approaches, auricular acupuncture may be worth a try. Make certain to see a certified acupuncturist.

See: 47 year old with Neck Pain and Irregular Bowel Movement gets Relief with Acupuncture

References

1. Suen LK, Wong TK, Leung AW, Ip WC. The long-term effects of auricular therapy using magnetic pearls on elderly with insomnia. Complement Ther Med. 2003;11(2):85-92. doi:10.1016/s0965-2299(03)00041-4

2. Fritz DJ, Carney RM, Steinmeyer B, Ditson G, Hill N, Zee-Cheng J. The efficacy of auriculotherapy for smoking cessation: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial. J Am Board Fam Med. 2013 Jan-Feb;26(1):61-70. doi:10.3122/jabfm.2013.01.120157

3. Ausfeld-Hafter B, Marti F, Hoffmann S. Smoking cessation with ear acupuncture. Descriptive study on patients after a smoking cessation treatment with ear acupuncture. Forsch Komplementarmed Klass Naturheilkd. 2004 Feb;11(1):8-13.

4. Suen LK, Wong TK, Leung AW. Effectiveness of auricular therapy on sleep promotion in the elderly. Am J Chin Med. 2002;30(4):429-49.

5. Ceccherelli F, Lovato A, Piana E, Gagliardi G, Roveri A. Somatic acupuncture versus ear acupuncture in migraine therapy: a randomized, controlled, blind study. Acupunct Electrother Res. 2012;37(4):277-93. doi:10.3727/036012912x13831831256375

6. Asher GN, Jonas DE, Coeytaux RR, et al. Auriculotherapy for pain management: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. J Altern Complement Med. 2010;16(10):1097-108. doi:10.1089/acm.2009.0451

7. Li MK, Lee TF, Suen KP. A review on the complementary effects of auriculotherapy in managing constipation. J Altern Complement Med. 2010;16(4):435-47. doi:10.1089/acm.2009.0348

8. Suen LK, Wong TK, Leung AW. Is there a place for auricular therapy in the realm of nursing? Complement Ther Nurs Midwifery. 2001 Aug;7(3):132-9.

9. Suen LK, Wong TK, Leung AW, Ip WC. The long-term effects of auricular therapy using magnetic pearls on elderly with insomnia. Complement Ther Med. 2003;11(2):85-92. doi:10.1016/s0965-2299(03)00041-4

10. Fritz DJ, Carney RM, Steinmeyer B, Ditson G, Hill N, Zee-Cheng J. The efficacy of auriculotherapy for smoking cessation: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial. J Am Board Fam Med. 2013 Jan-Feb;26(1):61-70. doi:10.3122/jabfm.2013.01.120157

11. Ceccherelli F, Lovato A, Piana E, Gagliardi G, Roveri A. Somatic acupuncture versus ear acupuncture in migraine therapy: a randomized, controlled, blind study. Acupunct Electrother Res. 2012;37(4):277-93. doi:10.3727/036012912x13831831256375

12. Asher GN, Jonas DE, Coeytaux RR, et al. Auriculotherapy for pain management: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. J Altern Complement Med. 2010;16(10):1097-108. doi:10.1089/acm.2009.0451

13. Li MK, Lee TF, Suen KP. A review on the complementary effects of auriculotherapy in managing constipation. J Altern Complement Med. 2010;16(4):435-47. doi:10.1089/acm.2009.0348

14. Ausfeld-Hafter B, Marti F, Hoffmann S. Smoking cessation with ear acupuncture. Descriptive study on patients after a smoking cessation treatment with ear acupuncture. Forsch Komplementarmed Klass Naturheilkd. 2004 Feb;11(1):8-13.

15. Suen LK, Wong TK, Leung AW. Effectiveness of auricular therapy on sleep promotion in the elderly. Am J Chin Med. 2002;30(4):429-49.

16. Suen LK, Wong TK, Leung AW. Is there a place for auricular therapy in the realm of nursing? Complement Ther Nurs Midwifery. 2001 Aug;7(3):132-9.

17. Science Direct https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/auricular-acupuncture

See: Acupuncture for Lower Back Pain

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