Also known as auriculotherapy, ear acupuncture involves the auricle of the external ear being treated with acupuncture needles to lessen pains, diseases or dysfunctions of the body.This practice is one of a series of so-called 'holographic' systems which theorize that the entirety of someone's body can be represented in miniature within the body. Another example is Chinese nose acupuncture, or hand acupuncture developed in Korea.
All the features of the body are thought to be represented in the many curves and folds of the ear, a kind of inverted fetus drawing is often used to diagrammatically represent this statement. Over 200 specific points of acupuncture exist on the ear.
Taken from the ancient Chinese practice of acupuncture, a Frenchman by the name of Dr. Paul Nogier first developed this novel form of acupuncture, back in 1957.
All forms of acupuncture originated in China in the Yellow Emperors Classic of Internal Medicine that was constructed around 500 B.C. This book inferred that six yang meridians were attached to the ear's auricle. Opposing this were six yin meridians that were indirectly connected with the ear through indirectly corresponding to their particular yang counterparts.
Dr. Nogier, a physician from Lyon in France, was initially interested in ear scars from patients that were treated successfully for sciatic pain by French lay practitioners. After developing the somatatopic map of the ear, his work was shown to begin with in France, later published in Germany by the German Acupuncture Society. Eventually this new acupuncture development was translated into Chinese. During 1958 a large study on the effectiveness of this acupuncture technique was conducted by the Nanking Army Ear Acupuncture Research Team. Dr. Nogier's theory of an inverted fetus was accepted as clinically accurate, and during the cultural revolution so called 'barefoot doctors' were trained in the simple techniques of the ear acupuncture. Many Chinese were soon able to try this new form of healthcare.
Chinese and French auricular acupuncture points were used for many years until in 1990 the World National Organization conducted an international meeting and standardized the auricular anatomical names.
Ear acupuncture has more recently become used for recommending special Chinese herbal remedies. Auricular locations are chosen in accordance with:
(1) related regions of the body that have pain or pathology
(2) pathological reactive points sensitive to touch
(3) the teachings of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM)
(4) the theory of meridians
(5) modern western medical physiological theories
(6) other ear points that have shown promise in recent and past research associated with this form of acupuncture.
By 1995 the World Health Organization in tandem with the Chinese government defined the localization of 91 particular auricular acupuncture points.