Traditional acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine practice that has been around for thousands of years. It involves inserting tiny needles into points in your body to stimulate them.
Most people picture acupuncture as only performed on the extremities or the back. But did you know it can also be performed on the ears? Ear acupuncture, or auricular acupuncture, is another type of acupuncture that refers to any acupuncture or acupressure treatment limited to the ears.
You might be surprised at what it offers. Learn more about auricular acupuncture and how it may benefit your health.
What Is Ear Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is an essential part of traditional Chinese medicine that focuses on your Qi, your life force energy. Qi flows through your body through channels called meridians, and any disturbance or imbalance in Qi will make a person sick.
Inserting fine needles into your body at specific points along the meridians helps balance your Qi. The same is true for the ear, which has acupuncture points corresponding to different body parts.
Ear Acupuncture Points
According to acupuncturists, the ear has more than 200 individual points that produce different effects once a needle is inserted. Correctly mapping the ear is vital because some points can have different effects. For example, the antihistamine point is located right next to the one for testicular secretion.
Some acupuncturists use an image of an inverted fetus against the ear to map the ear. They do this because the lower pressure points of the ear deal with conditions that affect the head. The points in the middle ear correspond to the internal organs, and those at the top of the ear correspond to the spine and lower body.
Some use an upside-down map of the ear. This makes it easier for acupuncturists to visualize how the different pressure points relate to different parts of your body.
While some schools of thought may differ, they all have the following essential points:
Also known as the “Heavenly Gate” point, the Shen Men point at the middle of the ear. It’s one of the most well-known auricular points. It affects the nervous system and is known to treat most conditions like addiction, pain, sedation, and inflammation.
The liver is responsible for the free flow of Qi throughout the body, which helps remove stagnation in any place of the body. The liver affects blood flow and dominates the tendons and muscles.
In acupuncture, the kidney is the organ that represents a person’s constitution and current health. It is helpful for most chronic conditions.
The kidney is the source of a person’s Qi, keeping them healthy and balanced physically and mentally. It also governs all developmental phases, including conception, puberty, adulthood, menopause, and aging.
The kidney governs the anatomical and physiological domains of the internal organs, back, knees, blood, hearing, and head hair.
Acupuncturists often use the lung point to treat respiratory problems. They also help treat skin and mucous membrane problems. The lung is also the master of Qi, which allows it to improve a person’s energy levels.
Ear Acupuncture: Benefits
Much like traditional acupuncture, auricular acupuncture can help treat various health issues, including:
- Digestive issues
- Chronic pain, especially in the lower back
- Weight loss
- Chemotherapy side effects and cancer pain
Auricular acupuncture also helps with managing substance abuse. The Yale Substance Abuse Treatment Unit offers five-point ear acupuncture for addiction patients. Adding auricular acupuncture to their treatment has helped produce remarkable results.
Ear Acupuncture: What to Expect
Acupuncture sessions may vary from one provider to the next. Some providers may use several acupuncture points, and some may focus on the master points.
A practitioner will usually begin by discussing the symptoms you want to treat. They’ll ask a few questions about yourself and other aspects of your health, like sleeping habits, mental health concerns, diet, and medical problems.
Patients are often seated during auricular acupuncture. However, you may be asked to lie on your stomach, back, or side if you also have other points to be stimulated.
Once you’re comfortable, the practitioner will disinfect your skin and begin inserting the needles. It may feel uncomfortable at first until you get accustomed to the sensation, or you may not feel anything at all.
You will need to sit or lie down from ten to twenty minutes after the practitioner inserts all the needles. Once the time is up, they’ll remove the needles. Don’t worry; this part is totally painless.
Your acupuncturist may ask you a few questions after the treatment. They may also offer additional treatments to supplement the acupuncture if you make a second appointment.
Ear Acupuncture: Is It Safe?
According to the National Center for Complementary & Integrative Health, acupuncture is safe if an experienced and trained acupuncturist performs it.
However, side effects may occur if the acupuncturist doesn’t perform it correctly or uses needles that aren’t sterilized. The best acupuncturist to visit should have a license; they only use disposable needles and can use many acupuncture tools safely, reducing your risk of complications.
A few people may experience mild side effects following an acupuncture session, like nausea, dizziness, and tenderness or pain around the affected areas.
You may not be suitable for acupuncture if pregnant since some acupuncture points can induce labor. Some acupuncture treatments use mild electric pulses, don’t try them if you have a pacemaker. Acupuncture is also unsafe for patients taking blood thinners or who have a bleeding disorder.
Alternative treatments like ear acupuncture can help with common issues like chronic pain, digestion problems, and migraines. It’s safe as long as you’re not pregnant, have a pacemaker, don’t take blood thinners, or suffer from a bleeding disorder.
Always visit a licensed acupuncturist to ensure you get top-notch and safe treatments and enjoy ear acupuncture benefits.
Give ear acupuncture a try at Advanced Chiropractors Group!
Advanced Chiropractors Group is partnered with the best chiropractors in Largo, FL. They provide top-notch services guaranteed to relieve pain and improve overall health. Give us a call today, and we’ll connect them to you as soon as possible.