History of Auriculotherapy
Ancient China: (475 BC) All systems of acupuncture began with the original Chinese medical text, the Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine. In this text, all six Yang Meridians were said to be directly connected to the Auricle, whereas the six Yin meridians were indirectly connected to the ear. These ancient Chinese Ear Points were not organized somatotopically, but were arranged as a scattered array of points on the ear.
Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome: (400 BC) Ancient physicians like Hippocrates and Galen recorded clinical uses of ear rings and other forms of ear stimulation for various problems, particularly the treatment of sexual and menstrual disorders.
Ancient Persia: (200 AD) After the fall of Rome, ancient medical records were best preserved in Persia. These ancient records showed a treatment for Sciatica by cauterizations on the ear.
Middle Ages: (1500) The Dutch East India Company, while pursuing merchant trading in China, brought Chinese acupuncture back to Europe. Included in these discoveries were the use of Ear Acupuncture, as well as the development of the Western hypodermic needle from Chinese acupuncture needles.
Renaissance: (1700) Sporadic clinical reports in Europe discussed the use of ear cauterizations to relieve Sciatica pain.
Modern France: (1950) Dr. Paul Nogier, a neurologist from Lyon, France, observed the occurrence of scars on the ear of patients who were successfully treated by French lay practitioners for Sciatica pain. He developed the somatotopic map of the Ear, based upon the concept of an Inverted Fetus orientation. He eventually discovered over 200 auricular points. His work was first presented in France, then communicated to a German acupuncture society, and finally was translated into Chinese.
Modern China: (1960) The Nanking Army Ear Acupuncture Research Team verified the clinical accuracy of the Nogier Ear Homunculus. They empirically assessed the ear points of over 2,000 clinical patients, utilizing “Barefoot Doctors” as part of Mao Tse Tung’s efforts to de-Westernize Chinese Medicine.
United States: (1980) A double-blind, experimentally controlled UCLA research study statistically verified the scientific accuracy of Auricular Diagnosis. A statistically significant level of 75% accuracy was achieved in diagnosing the musculoskeletal pain problems of 40 pain patients. By evaluating specific areas of heightened tenderness and increased electrical activity on the ear, areas of the body with some dysfunction could be correctly identified, whereas areas of the body free from pathology were correctly identified with non-pathological points on the ear.
Subsequent UCLA research focused upon the comparison of Chinese and French auricular points, the use of auricular electro-acupuncture for withdrawing chronic pain patients from opiate medications, and the naloxone reversibility of dental analgesia produced by auriculotherapy.
—Courtesy of Jim Shores, PhD
Addictions treatment. A cost free solution to our Drug Crisis
In 1972, a Hong Kong neurosurgeon, Dr. H. L. Wen, discovered that the acupuncture he used on a surgical patient for analgesic purposes also diminished the patient’s opium withdrawal and cravings. Dr. Wen was using auricular or ear acupuncture, where needle points are routinely used for diminishing pain throughout the rest of the body.
Dr. Wen experimented with auricular acupuncture on different addicts, and discovered a high rate of recovery for addictions of all types. By 1974, this treatment was used by the addiction recovery and detoxification clinic of New York’s South Bronx Lincoln Memorial Hospital. It was used as an adjunct for methadone treatments.
Methadone was eventually dropped. The acupuncture treatments were so effective that dropping the substituted addiction of methadone for heroin was a no-brainer. Since then, drug addiction recovery and detoxification clinics using auricular acupuncture have been established in several U.S. cities.
The clinics are often publicly funded, but not from Medicare or Medicaid. The FDA ruled that acupuncture was “experimental.” This ruling effectively restricted medical competition by banning government insurance and discouraging private insurers from providing coverage.
Acupuncture basics in a nutshell
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is based on the Nei Ching, The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine, which is estimated to be at least 2,500 years old despite the FDA’s “experimental” ruling.
TCM has five branches: Acupuncture/acupressure, a large mostly herbal pharmacopeia, dietetics, and energetics practices such as Qigong, Tuina massage, and a unique mind/body psychology.
The philosophical basis of TCM centers around the awareness that Qi (chi) or electrical vital energy flows through the body via 12 meridians. Approximately 360 major points have been mapped along these channels. Chi (Qi) is a specialized form of electrical energy possessing innate intelligence, similar to the forces of nature.
The 12 energy channels are located in the subtle or energetic body, which serves as the energetic blueprint for the physical body. When the Qi is ample and flowing smoothly through the meridians, Chinese medicine considers this ideal state to be one of organic balance or harmony, or what western medicine considers optimum health.
Conversely, when the Qi is obstructed, disease will manifest first in the subtle body and eventually into the physical body. Thus disease is seen as a state of disharmony, where the body’s innate energetic intelligence is blocked and unable to function optimally. The strategically placed needles stimulate chi energies to unblock them or regulate their flows.
Auricular (ear) stimulation was a subset of acupuncture. Ear acupuncture is based on the understanding that the macrocosm of the full body’s meridians is represented in the microcosm of the ear. The ear or the feet and hands contain mini-maps of the 12 meridian energetic system for the entire body. (Seeds on the other hand have been used for thousands of years prior to the development of TCM in many parts of the world.)
Basic auricular (ear) protocols for addictions
Normally, acupuncture sessions’ needle points are determined from session to session. But the addiction recovery protocol is set in stone and never varies. There are two basic auricular acupuncture protocols used for all addictions, thus allowing non TCM doctors to administer them.
One is the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA) treatment protocol. The NADA protocol uses five needle points in the ear: Lung 2, liver, C. kidney, shen men (stress, anxiety, overly sensitive), and the autonomic point for balancing sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems and blood circulation.
The other standard protocol is the American College of Addictionology and Compulsive Disorders (ACACD) treatment protocol. Three points are the same as NADA’s: Shen men, autonomic point, and C. Kidney. But ACACD uses three other points: Limbic system for aggressive compulsive behavior, brain for endocrine glands, and point zero for homeostatic balance.
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*** Today, we use seeds, or a cold laser to stimulate points. acu-PUNCTURE, (acu means needle in Chinese) no longer requires needles and creates no bio-hazard of blood. Literally, a high school student can learn this and serve the family member(s) in need of say, allergies, sciatica pain, anxiety and depression, cravings, weight loss, addictions and a host of other system imbalances for pennies. Seeds are available on Amazon for instance. (Classes available for couples. It’s very hard to treat your own ear and you can’t look at it. You need a buddy.)