Ear Acupressure, Ear Reflexology or Auriculotherapy - Discussion

Ear acupressure, also called ear reflexology or auriculotherapy, originated in China over 2,000 years ago.

One of the first texts to mention the importance of the ear in acupressure, called the Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine, can be dated to 500 BC. Chinese acupuncturists discovered that acupuncture meridians (channels) on the body linked to the outer ear, and that the ear reflects conditions in the body on a small scale (called a microsystem).

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A note about Ear Acupressure, Ear Reflexology or Auriculotherapy - Discussion

In natural health and healing, we believe in holistic health and healing, as we realize that different parts of the human body are highly interlinked, often beyond Man's understanding. We also believe that the body has the ability to heal itself of any disease, even supposedly incurable diseases.

In order to do so, the body needs the support of some basic dietary and lifestyle good health habits, such as a full body detox and a proper understanding and application of nutrition. Taking these fundamental health steps will greatly magnify the effects and benefits of any of our health-promoting efforts, including the use of certain holistic remedies.

Auriculotherapy, a well-established branch of Chinese acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine, has an extensive body of knowledge including many diagnostic and treatment techniques that require highly specialized training. The name derives from the ear’s auricle, or the external portion of the ear, (the pinna).

Though originating in China, many of the modern techniques used to stimulate the auricle developed in France in the 1950s. Dr. Paul Nogier of Lyon, France observed a local healer employing a type of acupuncture technique to patients suffering from sciatica. After further personal experimentation, Dr. Nogier hypothesized that if one area on the ear brought relife to low back pain, perhaps stimulation of other areas of the ear could bring relief to pain in other parts of the body. Over time, a very intricate system of pints along the ear developed corresponding to the major anatomocal feature of the rest of the body.

Various techniques exist to stimulate these pressure points, including electrical stimulation of the surface of ear reflex points, or the use of magnets. This is in contrast to ear acupressure (ear reflexology), which utilizes acupressure techniques and massage to stimulate the pressure points along the auricle.

Some practitioners also perform ear acupuncture, using needles. Though ear reflexology or acupressure can be considered one form of acupuncture in general, the philosophies of the two differ slightly. In acupuncture, treatment consists of stimulation of the points located along specific channels in the body, called meridians.

According to Taoist philosophy, there are a total of twelve meridians – six Yin and six Yang. In classical acupuncture, only the Yang meridians connect to the outer ear. In auriculotherapy, the ear acts as a localized reflex system connected to the nervous system, that is, the snapshot of the body’s energy pathways concentrated into one external organ. The ear is said to represent the whole of the anatomical body (Dr. Nogier likened the ear to the representation of a baby in utero, curled into the fetal position).

In ear reflexology or acupressure, three major massage methods can be used to stimulate the pressure points - "kneading", "rubbing", and "pulling." Consistent massage of only the ears will raise body temperature, relieve fatigue, and calm the mind.

Thought the ancient Chinese acupuncture texts describe forms of acupressure therapy and specific points located along the auricle, modern auriculotherapy employs a more complete system which can be used to treat a wide range of health problems. Many practioners use ear acupressure techniques to aid weight loss, stop smoking, alleviate chronic fatigue, and reduce anxiety and insomnia.

Auriculotherapy can be used in conjunction with other alternative or holistic healing modalities, and will reduce the tension, stress, and pain not fully relieved by conventional medical procedures. It works best when implemented as part of a multidisciplinary treatment approach. Many people use ear acupuncture or acupressure in coordination with body acupuncture, however, auriculotherapy can also effectively relieve a myriad of illnesses and complaints when used alone.

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How effective is acupressure? Click here to learn about how to use acupressure to overcome back pain.

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