Introduction to Auricular therapy
John Howard, L.Ac., Dipl.Ac.
Understanding Auricular Therapy first requires a definition. Simply stated, it is a therapy using the stimulation of specific areas accessible on the surface of the ear. These simulations are affected by the use of, for example, needles, pressure, magnets, electricity, laser and light. Conditions affecting the physical, mental or emotional health of patient are assumed to be treatable by stimulation of the surface of the ear exclusively. All parts of the body are represented on the ear. An example of some of the body parts can be seen in the picture below.
Early forms of Auricular Therapy can be traced back over 2500 years ago. Hippocrates, known as the father of Western medicine spent four years in Egypt learning Egyptian medicine. Hippocrates speaks about what would later become known as Auricular Therapy in two of his medical textbooks, Generations and The Airs, the Waters, and Places
Another form of Auricular Therapy that can be traced back to the Egyptians and is seen today is the piercing of the ear lobe with gold earrings. This practice stems from the observation that placement of earrings at the site today known as the eye zone (ear lobe) gave sailors a considerable improvement in their vision while at sea.
There are many other examples of early forms of Auricular Therapy throughout human history. Historically Auricular Therapy emerged as an organized and coherent model in the mid-20th century through the works of Dr. Paul Nogier (Lyon. France). + More info
The evolution of Auricular Therapy at the beginning of the 21st century is marked by unprecedented interest. The work of Dr. Richard Niemtzow known as battlefield acupuncture led to the emergence of new auricular treatments fostering potent and promising results. The potency of these results quickly brought about government grants and contracts that have no counterparts in the history of Auricular Therapy or acupuncture.
Auricular Therapy is now being used all over the US and the world to help relieve many conditions and ailments. Since the first scientific research paper appeared in 1972 (Source: Pub Med) , about one scientific research paper on Auricular Therapy is written every month. There are many examples of Auricular Therapy being used in major treatment facilities and hospitals around the world in both civilian and military hospitals. A form of Auricular Therapy call battlefield acupuncture is being used to treat wounded troops on the battlefield today. This technique is used when pain medications such as morphine are contraindicated.
Since 2012 the military has spent or received over a quarter of a billion dollars to implement acupuncture and Auricular Therapy through the armed forces and the VA health care system. With over 2 million military personnel (excludes family members because that information is not attainable on the DOD website), the US military is the largest insurer of health care in the country. + More info