What you didn’t know about Auricular (ear) Acupuncture
Do you want to stimulate your whole body in one simple step? Rub your ears!
I do auricular acupuncture on every patient for every treatment. The ear in Chinese Medicine is a microcosm of the human body, meaning that every organ and structure of the body is situated on the ear. By stimulating certain auricular points, you can affect various organs and structures of the body. Researchers have done fMRI studies where for example if you have knee pain, and you stimulate the ‘knee’ point in the ear, that part of the brain will light up. Amazing!
I use an average of 4-6 ear needles per person per treatment. The first three are hugely involved in regulating and balancing the nervous system. The point Sympathetic brings your body from sympathetic (stress) mode into parasympathetic (relaxation) mode. The point Shen Men, or Spirit Gate, is used to calm emotions and relax the mind. Lastly, the point Point Zero is very grounding, and is used to both regulate the nervous system and balance the other points. The other 1-3 points I use are unique to the individual depending on what’s going on that day. By starting off each treatment with ear points, I believe it primes the body for a treatment and allows the person to enter a deeper state of relaxation.
When I first learned about ear acupuncture in school, I was somewhat of a skeptic. I wasn’t sold on the idea that a few needles in the ear could really affect the body so profoundly. Until I saw it firsthand for myself. I volunteered for an event called the Veterans Day Stand-Down, which basically gave free healthcare to the homeless veterans in San Diego. Many of these people had mental illness and drug dependency issues. Many patients that day were recently coming off heavy drugs such as heroin and meth, and were shaking & extremely uncomfortable from the withdrawal symptoms.
There is a protocol called NADA (National Acupuncture Detoxification Association) that is a standardized 5-point treatment used for addictions and emotional trauma. It was developed in Lincoln Hospital in NYC in 1985, and has since been used by more than 10,000 health professionals worldwide. It is even mandated in many drug court cases.
That day I remember specifically a WW2 vet who had severe heroin withdrawal symptoms. His eyes were darting back and forth, he was sweating, in emotional distress, and kept complaining he was aching for his next fix. Within 20 minutes of treatment, his eyes became still, his breathing normalized, and he was able to hold a conversation . I was amazed. In that moment I knew it worked, and that I was going to use it on every person.
When I go straight for your ears during our acupuncture session, know that you will be feeling relaxed in no time at all.
Best in health,