What is auricular acupuncture?

Auricular acupuncture is ear needling. It’s much more convenient to perform than a full-body treatment, because the patient can remain fully clothed and sitting in a chair.  That is why it is commonly performed in a community acupuncture setting, or in public as a demonstration. It is often used in addiction treatment, stress management, and in situations where a patient cannot receive body needling.

A French doctor named Paul Nogier developed auriculotherapy in the 1950’s, using clinical observations to develop the map we use today. The ear is considered a microcosm of the body, and needles there can affect the nervous system and internal organs, as well as address physical dysfunctions such as back pain or shoulder tension.

Like full-body acupuncture, auricular can be used to prevent disease before it starts by relaxing and harmonizing the body’s systems. Auricular is also very soothing to receive, and tension you might not even be aware of can be released during a treatment, improving mental and physical health.

The needles are very small, only about half an inch long, and are inserted quickly into points in the ear just deep enough to remain in place. They are usually left for 20-30 minutes and then removed, sometimes by the patient herself. The sensations of warmth, movement, or a pulsing feeling are often reported by patients, and most people find an auricular treatment both calming and energizing.

I use ear needles as part of most full-body treatments, and find that when a patient is needle sensitive, inserting a few specific needles in the ear can help the patient receive the other points that are part of their treatment. If you are curious to try auricular acupuncture, please email me at MGGaskinLAc@gmail.com.