Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Auriculotherapy To Stop Smoking

Auriculotherapy to Quit Smoking

The Centers for Disease Control notes that the most widespread chemical dependence in the United States is nicotine addiction. A 1996 Gallup survey indicates that 75 percent of smokers would like to quit smoking, and the average smoker actually tries to quit 4.1 times. To treat their addiction, many smokers seek alternative treatments. Auriculotherapy is one such treatment.

The Facts

Auriculotherapy is the stimulation, usually by electrical current, of reflex points on the ear in order to improve health problems, including nicotine dependence. In the September 2007 issue of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Luigi Gori and Fabio Firenzuoli write that each point on the ear corresponds to a certain point on the body. These points are identified according to a map of the ear which resembles an upside-down fetus. According to Auriculotherapy.com, each point in this map is a nerve point connecting to the brain's reflex centers. Stimulation of the right point in turn stimulates the corresponding reflex in the brain, treating the health condition--in this case, nicotine addiction.


Gori and Firenzuoli explain that Dr. Paul Nogier developed auriculotherapy in the 1950s in Lyons, France. Dr. Nogier noticed several of his patients had small burns on their ears, which they told him was a treatment for sciatic pain. Based on his observation of this practice, he devised his map of the ear. Further research indicated that the pulse changes when certain points on the ear are stimulated. After independent publication of his discoveries in 1957 by Dr. Gérard Bachmann, his work was accepted in Japan and China. Today, auriculotherapy is the result of the combination of Dr. Nogier's work, reflexology and traditional Chinese acupuncture. The therapy is now used by many clinics to help clients quit smoking.

Types of Auriculotherapy

Though auriculotherapy usually refers to the application of a micro-current to the right reflex points on the ear, Auriculotherapy.com explains that it can also be performed by inserting acupuncture needles in the ear. In such a case, the procedure is known as ear acupuncture. The ear can also be stimulated with acupressure, lasers or magnetic balls. However, most clinics offering auriculotherapy to quit smoking perform the procedure with electrostimulation.


According to Gori and Firenzuoli, while auriculotherapy has been confirmed as a treatment for acute and chronic pain, as of 2007, it had not been definitively established as a treatment for nicotine dependence. A 2005 study published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews also concluded that there is "no consistent evidence" that electrostimulation is better than other methods at helping smokers quit. Finally, auriculotherapy to quit smoking is considered a form of alternative medicine; the American Medical Association's Council of Scientific Affairs has stated that "there is little evidence to confirm the safety or efficacy of most alternative therapies."


You should be cautious of claims that auriculotherapy is an FDA-approved practice endorsed by the World Health Organization. While WHO supports research into acupuncture practices, as of 2003, the organization did not list smoking cessation as a disease that can be treated with acupuncture therapies. Similarly, the FDA's website does not provide any information on auriculotherapy to quit smoking.

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