Auricular acupuncture – or auriculo-acupuncture, as it’s sometimes called – is a branch of acupuncture that focuses on promoting healing throughout the body by focusing on treatment on the ear.
Like all acupuncture, auricular acupuncture adopts the same healing principles that are used in other areas of conventional acupuncture, using super-fine needles to stimulate positive changes in the body’s natural energy flow – or Qi (pronounced ‘chee’ – to tackle a range of wellness issues.
Just as there are acupuncture points throughout the body, so there are acupuncture points on and around the outer part of the ear as well – dozens of them, in fact.
Auricular acupuncture also has its roots in Ancient China and the advent of traditional Chinese medicine, but it became better known in the mid-20th Century thanks to the work of French neurologist Paul Nogier, now known as the father of auriculotherapy.
Ear acupuncture uses needles to alter the flow of Qi and create a better balance between opposing, but complementary, energies that are contained within the internal organs.
When we are unwell, the symptoms will present in a specific part of the body – for example, we may experience back ache or pain in the knee – but the problem itself is often located somewhere else entirely.
The symptoms we have when there’s something wrong are indicative of a blockage in our energy pathways that needs to be resolved, and the process of inserting acupuncture needles into the acupuncture points on the ear is what disrupts internal energy to clear those pathways.
There has been research to show that auricular acupuncture can be particularly effective in improving heart health. Scientists in China and Austria discovered that the treatment led to better heart rate variability, which determines how well the body regulates intervals between heartbeats – itself an indicator of general heart health.
Low HRV is often found in patients who have conditions that include congenital heart failure, diabetes and post-traumatic stress disorder.
But it’s not just physical wellness that ear acupuncture can promote. The treatment is also sometimes used for to improve emotional and mental wellbeing, relieving stress, promoting better sleep, assisting with alcohol or tobacco dependency and weight loss.
Ear acupuncture is really effective in the treatment of a number of conditions, including:
- Low back pain
- Migraines and Headaches
- Chronic pain
- Allergies (including hay fever)
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Much like general acupuncture, ear acupuncture traditionally involved the insertion of superfine needles into the ear. However, that can be quite painful so instead we carry out auricular acupuncture using a small device that emits a tiny charge to replicate the needling process.
This electro-acupuncture alternative to needling is completely painless – so much so that we also use it when treating children.
If you’d like to find out more about how acupuncture can help to ease the symptoms of a physical or mental condition or would like to find out more about this ancient method of improving wellbeing, please get in touch – we’d love to hear from you.
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