auricular acupuncture

Auricular therapy is one of the most important components of traditional Chinese acupuncture. It is a specialized form where the auricle (ear) is used to stimulate various organs and meridians in the body. The ear represents a fetus in the womb but in an inverted position. It is a microcosm of the macrocosm: the ear represents the entire body.

Auricular therapy has a long history in China. The earliest recorded mention of the close relationship between the ear and the body is found in the Silk Book Meridians, written around 500 B.C., which states that the ear meridian originates in the back of the hand and ascends to enter the ear. Auricular diagnostic and therapeutic methods were first documented in Nei Jing, The Classic of Medicine, written around 200 B.C., which stated that the nature and location of various diseases could be determined by inspection of the shape, color, moistness, and collaterals of the ear. It recommended the use of blood-letting puncturing of the collaterals of the ear to treat headache and side pain.

Later practitioners continued to develop the practical application of auricular diagnosis and to do research into the mechanisms of auricular therapy. During the Jin dynasty (265-420 AD), auricular massage was widely used to preserve health and to diagnose and treat various diseases and disorders. The use of auricular acupuncture and moxibustion was first recorded during the Tang dynasty (608-907 AD). During the Ming dynasty (1368-1644 AD), auricular medicinal coating came into use, and auricular massage for children was popular. During the Qing dynasty (1644-1911 AD), the use of auricular temperature measurement as a means of prognosis was recorded. This led to the creation of the first ear map and auricular massage chart which showed a relationship between some areas of the ear and body.

Auricular therapy is widely used for many conditions, including addiction treatment, mood disorders, obesity, pain, and other conditions. This medical system emphasizes a holistic approach to medicine, an approach that treats the whole person. The acupuncture points found on the ear help to regulate the body's internal organs, structures, and functions.

Ear acupuncture is generally incorporated into a regular acupuncture treatment. In addition to using acupuncture points on the rest of the body, your acupuncturist may select a few ear acupuncture points that they feel will be helpful for your particular condition.

Ear acupuncture points may be stimulated for a longer period of time by using ear seeds or ear tacks. Ear seeds are small seeds from the Vaccaria plant. These seeds are held in place on the ear with a small piece of adhesive tape. Ear seeds may be left in the ear for a few days or up to two weeks. Ear tacks are very small needles with an adhesive backing. Ear tacks are inserted into the ear and left in the ear for a few days or up to one week.

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