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Hello everyone!

Hope you had a good week! Here's the first part of a series about ear acupuncture which is a powerful modality for a wide range of conditions. Thanks again to all those who left Google Reviewsyou help us heal more people in the area!

Origins of Ear Acupuncture

Ear acupuncture is an effective method for treating acute and chronic disease without producing side effects. It therefore represents one of the most important complementary additions to conventional medicine today. Its main indication is certainly the treatment of pain, but a number of functional, organic, and mental disorders may be treated as well. Fortunately, this applies also to a number of diseases for which conventional medicine still has no cures to offer, for example, migraine and allergies. When I wrote my doctoral dissertation paper I chose to perform a literature review about acupuncture for analgesia in the ER and the conclusion was that Battlefield Acupuncture (BFA) is equivalent to morphine. The BFA protocol consists of 5 points on the ear and we use ASP needles (Aiguilles Semi Permanentes, made in Lyon France which is also where the father of modern auriculotherapy is from! See below).

The origins of ear acupuncture can be traced back to the 4th century BC when Hippocrates tried to cure impotence by bloodletting at the ear. It is also known that pain has been treated in ancient Egypt by means of ear points. Throughout the centuries we find notes on similar treatments. The best-known document in the European region is certainly the painting “The Garden of Lust” by Hieronymus Bosch (17th century) which shows the Shen Men / Neurogate being pierced by an arrow. A second needle held by Satan pricks a point that looks like it's the Mouth Point. 

Ear acupuncture enjoyed a certain popularity also in China, but it fell into oblivion during the last centuries. Approximately 20 anterior and posterior ear points were known during the Tang dynasty (618-907 AD). The procedure then probably spread to Persia, Africa, India, and the Mediterranean area.

However, there is no evidence that a comprehensive reflex system on the auricle, complete with representations of the entire body, existed. We owe it to the French physician Dr. Paul Nogier (from Lyon) that ear acupuncture has been rediscovered and that this happened in a way that provided astonishing opportunities for both diagnosis and therapy.

Dr. Nogier has been able to demonstrate that all organs of the body are represented as projection zones on the outer ear.

Around 1951, Dr. Nogier discovered in some of his patients certain scars at a specific site on the ear. The patients told him that they had been “treated” for sciatica by applying a red-hot needle to this site of the ear, with the result that the pain disappeared (a lay practitioner, Madame Barrin, from Marseilles was doing it). Dr. Nogier’s objectivity made him follow on this phenomenon and he was able to reproduce effects successfully and interpreted this as reflex localization (using less barbaric methods such as acupuncture).

Dr. Nogier was already open to the use of acupuncture needles as he had already studied the works of the French acupuncturist, Georges Soulié de Morant, and he had worked under Dr. Pierre Schmidt, who utilized massages, spinal manipulations, and acupuncture in his naturopathic practice.

Shortly thereafter he realized that, apart from this body area, all other site or organs of the body are projected on the ear. He also discovered how to demonstrate these sites: they showed an increased sensitivity to pressure if the corresponding region of the body was diseased. Subsequently, he recognized that active ear acupuncture points (points that indicate a pathological change in the body or are produced on the ear by such a pathology) have changed electrically (reduced resistance and increased conductance of the skin). This allows for objective measurements that are independent of the patient (for instance with the pen I use in my clinic).


"To discover something," Dr. Nogier observed, "is to accomplish one stage of the journey. To push on to the bottom of this discovery is to accomplish another.” In 1955, Dr. Nogier mentioned his discoveries to Dr. Jacques Niboyet, the undisputed master of acupuncture in France. Dr. Niboyet was struck by this ear reflex zone, which had not been described by the Chinese. Dr. Niboyet encouraged Dr. Nogier to present his findings to the Mediterranean Society of Acupuncture in 1956. One of the attendees of this meeting, Dr. Bachmann of Munich, Germany, published Dr. Nogier’s findings in an acupuncture journal which had worldwide circulation, particularly in Eastern Asia. From these translations into German, Dr. Nogier’s ear reflex system was soon known by Chinese acupuncturists, who subsequently incorporated the inverted fetus map into their ear acupuncture charts.

France vs China!
There are two basic lines of thought in ear acupuncture: the French school and the Chinese school. They differ in the specifications of point localizations and in their diagnostic and therapeutic approaches.

I tend to follow the French school (Guess why!). The approach of the French school is rather pragmatic and corresponds to the pathophysiological knowledge of conventional medicine. The point localizations have distinct, anatomically oriented assignments to pathologies of the body. In addition, the unambiguous relationship of the ear points to the corresponding parts of the body can be clearly demonstrated by electrical changes (caused either by existing pathologies or by iatrogenic pain stimuli on the body, as described earlier).

On the one hand, these active points clearly indicate disorders of the body. On the other hand, they are also (via needle, laser, pressure massage) the therapeutic gateways to numerous diseases. This way, therapy can be applied in a controlled manner; that is, treatment is or should be preceded by the diagnosis of active points in order to provide information on the origin and type of the disease in question.

That's it for the history of ear acupuncture! 

Next week: Auriculotherapy in Action - Conditions and Protocols.
Week after: How to Incorporate Auriculotherapy in your Self Care Routine!

References 

  1. Auriculotherapy Manual: Chinese and Western Systems of Ear Acupuncture - Terry Oleson PhD - I SBN 10: 0962941557 / ISBN 13: 9780962941559
    Published by Health Care Alternatives, 1996
  2. Ear Acupuncture - A Precise Pocket Atlas Based on the Works of Nogier/Bahr - Beate Strittmeyer MD - 2011

Special thanks to my friend and colleague Dr. Suzuki for proof reading these newsletters! 

Dr Arno Kroner
DAOM LAc Dipl.OM MTOM MBA
+1.323.459.6152
drkroner.com
arno.kroner@gmail.com

2001 South Barrington Suite 220
West LA CA 90025
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