Sunday, November 17, 2013

What's Auriculotherapy

Auriculotherapy, also known as ear acupuncture, is based on an ancient Chinese theory that the auricle, or outer ear, is actually a map of the body in miniature, with corresponding points to internal and external organs. Auriculotherapy is among the disciplines practiced in holistic medicine.

How auriculotherapy works

Auriculotherapy is a form of acupuncture or pressure that stimulates points on the ear that correspond to other parts on the body.

Acupuncture needles may be used to stimulate reflex points on the ear much on the order of reflexology, in which the soles of the feet correspond to internal organs.

Sometimes magnets or small pellets, made of gold or metal, are used for manual pressure or massage to stimulate reflex points.

How auriculotherapy differs from acupuncture

Acupuncture stimulates blocked energy channels by placing needles along divisions of the body known as meridians. The insertion of needles can release energy and relieve symptoms of specific health or medical problems.

In traditional acupuncture, some of the meridians are indirectly connected to the outer ear surface.

In auriculotherapy practice, the focus on the use of the ear is as a reflex connection to the central nervous system, which in turn relieves specific symptoms.

History of auriculotherapy

The practice of auriculotherapy dates as far back as 500 B.C. in China but was not applied in modern medicine until the 1950s, when a French physician began using applied pressure to a point on the outer ear to relieve sciatica pain in some of his patients. He further extended his theory by drawing a map of the auricle -- which resembles an inverted fetus -- and pointing out positions on the ear that corresponded with other body parts.

Its use today

While auriculotherapy has been practiced in Asia for more than 2,000 years and in continental Europe for five decades, it was not approved by the U.S. medical establishment until 1997.

Who practices auriculotherapy?

It is generally thought that the use of auriculotherapy, when combined with other forms of holistic healing such as traditional acupuncture, is most effective for relief of symptoms. However, auriculotherapy may be used alone.

Auriculotherpy may be used by practitioners of holistic medicine, such as chiropractors or massage therapists.

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