Have you heard of acupuncture earrings? They are small earrings that you wear on certain acupuncture points on your ear. There’s a lot of health claims being made about them, but I don’t use them in my practice. I do, however, practice auricular (ear) acupuncture – and my patients see amazing results.
Auricular acupuncture is the use of acupuncture needles in specific points on the ear. This practice dates back thousands of years – in fact, the first records we have of auricular acupuncture are in the Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine in 500BC. There are also references to ear treatments in medical records from ancient Egypt, Greece, Persia, and Rome.
Modern methods were developed in the 1950’s by Dr Paul Nogier, who is considered the Father of modern ear acupuncture. He noticed many of his patients had burn scars on the edges of their ears, and discovered they visited a local traditional healer who cauterized parts of the ear to treat symptoms in other parts of the body.
Just as reflexology uses a map of the body on the foot, auricular acupuncture sees a map of the body on the ear.
What can auricular acupuncture be used for?
Auricular acupuncture is especially helpful for pain relief, handling addictions (drugs, smoking, alcohol), managing stress, and dealing with anxiety.
In my practice I use ear acupuncture for a variety of conditions and am trained in the NADA protocol and Battlefield acupuncture – two extensively researched methods of auricular acupuncture.
The NADA protocol was developed by an American doctor in the 1970s as an alternative to methadone for drug addicts (NADA is the acronym for the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association).
The process involves 5 needles inserted into both ears, on the Sympathetic, Shen Men, Kidney, Liver, and Lung acupuncture points. Needling in these points can reduce anxiety and cravings, manage pain, and improve overall wellbeing to help the patient handle drug withdrawal and detoxification.
I use Battlefield acupuncture for patients who are in chronic pain. The name stems from the fact it was developed for military veterans as an alternative to pain medications which can become addictive and harmful. As with the NADA protocol, Battlefield acupuncture uses 5 points on the ear. These points stimulate natural pain-killing compounds in the body such as beta-endorphins and anti-inflammatory cytokines to provide pain relief.
Who can benefit from auricular acupuncture?
This type of treatment is suitable for anyone; there are no restrictions for auricular acupuncture.
Whilst the NADA and Battlefield acupuncture protocols have set points, I also use other points on the body too, according to individual need. Each of my patients is a unique person and I tailor the treatments to suit them. This provides a much deeper and longer-lasting result than any acupuncture earring can.
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