Myerowitz Chiropractic Center

  • What is Auriculotherapy?

    Auriculotherapy is a health care procedure in which stimulation of the auricle of the external ear is utilized for the diagnosis and treatment of health conditions in other parts of the body. It is also known as ear acupuncture or auricular acupuncture when the stimulation is achieved by the insertion of acupuncture needles. The term auriculotherapy often refers to electrical stimulation of the surface of ear reflex points. Specific points on the ear can also be stimulated by manual pressure, referred to as auricular acupressure or ear reflexology. Acupuncture points on the ear can be stimulated with lasers, magnets, and ear pellets.


     While originally based upon the ancient Chinese practices of acupuncture, the somatotopic correspondence of specific parts of the body to specific parts of the ear was first developed in France. It is this integrated system of Chinese and Western practices of auricular acupuncture which is presented herein.

  • How is Auriculotherapy different from Acupuncture?

    Auriculotherapy is typically considered one form of acupuncture, but there are both differences and similarities between the two procedures.


    Acupuncture - is a method of treatment involving the stimulation of acupuncture points located on energy channels extending over the surface of the body; they are identified as meridians.


    Auriculo Acupuncture – according to the philosophy of Taoism, there are six Yang meridians and six Yin meridians. In classical acupuncture, it is the Yang meridians that directly connect to the external ear. These energy lines (meridians) are often blocked or congested when there is pathology in a specific area of the body. Insertion of acupuncture needles into specific acupoints, that are located on the ear, often are able to relieve the symptoms and the underlying pathology of that particular health problem. This method of treatment is described as auriculo acupuncture.


    Western Medicine has identified the existence of neurological reflex points in the ear that communicate with the central nervous system and the neurological network throughout the body This method of treatment is described as Auriculo Electro Therapy and is distinctively different than Auriculo Acupuncture.

  • What is the History of Auriculotherapy?

    The earliest written records of ear acupuncture date back to the Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine, a compilation of acupuncture procedures that were in practice in 500 BC. Within this extensive text are described specific acupuncture points on the external ear that have proved to be effective for relieving the symptoms of  certain bodily disorders.


    However, the manner in which auriculo acupuncture is practiced today is actually based upon the more recent discoveries that occurred in France in the 1950's. The Traditional Oriental Medicine practiced in ancient China included just a scattered array of acupoints on the auricle, for just a few health problems. The current practice of auriculo acupuncture is the result of a more complete organization of ear reflex points; thus enabling the provider to obtain relief of many more health problems than previously thought.


    In the West, the earliest references to ear treatments are referred to in the medical records from ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome. The most complete descriptions of medical treatments through the ear were recorded in ancient Persia. A trail of evidence of the use of auricular stimulation for the treatment of sciatica back pain can be followed from these Persian records through medieval Europe to modern France. Since the 1950's, the use of specific ear points as a complete reflex system that can alleviate many health problems according to the principles of Western medicine; has been utilized by clinical practitioners in other parts of Europe, in Asia, and in North and South America.

  • Who discovered Auriculotherapy?

    The earliest uses of treating ear points for the purpose of alleviating and even correcting maladies of health dates back to ancient China.


    In the 1950's, Dr. Nogier, of Lyons, France, noticed a strange scar on the upper ear of some of his patients. He found that all of them had been successfully treated for sciatica pain by a local lay practitioner. The lay practitioner had cauterized a specific area of the external ear in order to relieve the sciatic pain. Dr. Nogier conducted a similar procedure on his own sciatica patients and found that their sciatic and lower back pain had been minimized. He then tried several other means of stimulating this "sciatica point"; including the use of acupuncture needles, and found that they too were effective in alleviating sciatica pain.


    The brilliance of Dr. Nogier was in extending this one observation into a more comprehensive model. Dr. Nogier theorized that if an area of the upper external ear is effective in treating low back pain, perhaps other parts of the ear could treat other symptoms expressed by patients in distant parts of the body. The ear is said to be representative of the human fetus in the upside down orientation when in the womb. Nogier's theory contended that the auricle could be compared to an inverted fetus, with the head represented on the lower ear lobe, the feet at the top of the external ear, and the rest of the body in-between. This model was first presented to naturopathic practitioners in France in 1957. It then then spread to acupuncturists in Germany, and finally was translated into Chinese. The Chinese adopted the inverted fetus model of ear acupuncture in 1958.

  • How is Auriculotherapy related to other forms of Alternative Medicine?

    Auriculotherapy is one of many modalities / methods of alternative medicine. Alternative medicine includes acupuncture, chiropractic adjustments and manipulations, clinical nutrition, herbs, homeopathy, biofeedback, and more. All of these techniques and disciplines are sometimes referred to as Complementary Medicine, in that they are not only an alternative to conventional Western medical treatments. At times, they serve as an additional treatment measure complementing the practice of conventional medicine.


    Auriculotherapy has the capability to reduce symptoms; often not fully relieved or understood by other medical procedures. Auriculotherapy is another treatment modality in an array of treatment modalities. While ear acupuncture is often used in conjunction with body acupuncture auriculo electrotherapy has proved to effectively relieve pain, stress and tension when used by itself.

  • Have Auriculo Electro-therapy and Auriculo Acupuncture been accepted by Conventional Western Medicine?

    While ear acupuncture has been practiced in Asia for over 2,000 years and while auricular therapy has been  practiced in continental Europe for the past 50 years, it is only recently that auriculo electro-therapy and auriculo acupuncture have been considered to be a valuable modality by some medical doctors in the United States. Most MD's do not have sufficient information about auriculo electro-therapy to make an informed comment on its effectiveness.

    In November of 1997, a consensus panel of the U.S National Institutes of Health gave conditional approval of the practice of auriculo acupuncture. The approval had been based upon an evaluation of those studies which supported the use of ear acupuncture for pain relief and addiction treatment. As more research accumulates on the efficacy of auriculo electro-therapy, it is expected that even more physicians will acknowledge the benefits of auriculo electro-therapy.


  • What is a Microsystem?

    In human anatomy, a microsystem is an anatomical entity i.e. ear, hand and foot. These microsystems communicate and can influence the health of other tissues and organs of the human body (the macro-system).


    The ear is both a micro-acupuncture system and a micro-neuro-reflex system; for treating the organs and tissues of the body. This is accomplished via stimulation of the ear points that interconnect with the network of neural fibers that makeup the nervous system (according to Western medicine concepts) and the meridian channels of the body (according Asian medicine).


    Microsystems have been reported for the foot, hand, face, scalp and eyes. The term microsystem was first popularized by the acupuncturist Ralph Alan Dale of Miami, Florida.


  • What are Remote Reflexes?

    As with distal acupoints in body acupuncture, the auricular microsystem can be used to treat health conditions in distant parts of the body. Stimulating points on the ear not only can alleviate problems associated with nearby regions of the face and head but can also relieve pathological disorders in the chest, abdomen, lower back, and feet. According to the microsystem theory, it is not that there are direct connections between the ear and the back or the ear and the foot. Rather, nerves from the ear connect to reflex centers in the brain which send neurological reflex pathways to the spinal cord and then to neurons going to the spine or to the foot.


  • What are Auricular-Somatic Reflexes?

    The basic concept in auriculotherapy is that nerves in the skin overlying specific areas of the external ear correspond to specific parts of the brain which has reflex connections to the body. Organo-Cutaneous Reflexes are activated when organic pathology in a specific part of the body induce reflex reactions in the external ear. These are, manifested as localized changes in the form of tenderness, altered blood circulation, and electrodermal reactivity. Cutaneo-Organic Reflexes are activated when specific points on the auricle are stimulated in order to relieve organic pathology in another part of the body.


  • What is Somatotopic Inversion?

    The inverted fetus pattern that is represented on the auricle is referred to as somatotopic inversion. The word "soma" means "body" and the word "topic" refers to a topographic "map." The auricle is a map of the body in an inverted or upside down pattern.


  • What is the role of Endorphins in Auriculotherapy?

    The endorphins, endogenous morphine molecules that relieve pain in a manner similar to external opiate chemicals, have been used as one explanation for how auriculotherapy serves to relieve pain. Both animal research and human studies have shown that stimulation of ear acupuncture points appears to cause the systemic release of endorphins. Interestingly, administration of the opiate antagonist naloxone partially blocks the analgesia produced by either auriculotherapy or by acupuncture.


  • What is the effect of wearing Earrings?

    A common thought that occurs to many people is to question the consequence of wearing earrings when they are located at auricular acupuncture points. The classical location of earrings placed on the center of the ear lobe occurs at the eye point and has been reported to relieve visual disturbances. The response of ear reflex points to earrings depends on both the healing of the skin tissue where the ear has been pierced and the type of metal used in the ear ring. If the skin where the ear has been pierced has not completely healed, the metal in the ear ring can release electrically charged ions into the skin. Whether those ions help or harm any pathology in the corresponding part of the body depends upon whether the metal is gold, which releases positive ions, or silver, which releases negative ions.


  • What type of health care practitioners provide auriculotherapy?

    Auriculotherapy is conducted by a variety of practitioners, including acupuncturists, biofeeback therapists, chiropractic doctors, dentists, medical doctors, naturopathic doctors, nurses, osteopathic doctors, physical therapists, psychotherapists, and reflexology therapists.

  • Where do I find an auriculotherapy practitioner in my area?

    A list of certified practitioners of auriculotherapy can be found in the certification section of the website of the Auricular Certification Institute.


  • What health conditions are most helped by auriculotherapy?

    Because every part of the external ear connects, via the microsystem, remote reflexes to every part of the body, a wide variety of health problems are relieved by auriculotherapy. Almost all health conditions can be affected to some degree by stimulating reactive ear points. The most commonly reported uses of auriculotherapy have been for the control of chronic pain, detoxification from addictive drugs, relief of nausea, and reduction of hypertension.


  • How does auriculotherapy affect pain conditions?

    Most chronic pain is due to myofascial pain, related to the constriction of the connective tissue surrounding muscles in spasm. Muscles do not remain in spasm unless there are motor neurons causing them to contract. Maintenance of pathological muscle spasms is due to pathological brain reflex patterns that keep spinal reflexes re-initiating the activation of the motor neurons that cause muscles to sustain their contraction. By stimulating ear reflex points that connect to the somatotopic reflex system in the brain, the pathological brain patterns can be electrically reset to stop the unwanted activation of spinal reflexes. Pain sensations that are due to irritated nerves can be relieved by the normalizing of pathological, hypersensitive reflex pathways that interconnect the ear microsystem and the somatotopic brain. In addition to these neurological explanations, it is also theorized that pain relief from auriculotherapy is achieved by the hormonal release of endorphins into the blood.


    From a Traditional Oriental Medicine perspective, pain is due to the blockage of Qi (pronounced chee) energy in the acupuncture meridian channels, thus creating an imbalance in the macro-acupuncture system. By stimulating specific ear points in the auricular microsystem, bi-directional connections are activated in the body macrosystem which leads to a balancing of energy and an increase flow of Qi.

  • How does auriculotherapy affect drug abuse?

    As with pain control, explanations for the effectiveness of auriculotherapy in facilitating the reduction of drug abuse derive from both a Western neurological conceptualization and a Traditional Oriental Medicine perspective. The first evidence of the power of auriculotherapy in reducing the substance cravings of drug addicts came from H.L. Wen of Hong Kong in the 1970's, and were expanded upon by Dr. Michel Smith, a physician who practices Oriental Medicine in New York City. The Lung point on the ear used to relieve addiction disorders is said to affect the energy of the Lung meridian, which affects not only respiratory disorders but problems with detoxification.


    A Western neurological explanation of drug detoxification with auriculotherapy is based on the observation that the concha area of the ear which is used to treat addiction problems represents the control of the autonomic nervous system through the vagus nerve and through the hypothalamus of the brain.

  • How are other conditions relieved by auriculotherapy?

    By facilitating a balancing of energy throughout the body macrosystems or by correcting pathological reflex centers in the brain; stimulation of the auricular acupuncture microsystem can lead to a homeostatic state whereby any form of stress or pain is lessened. Stimulation of the specific ear reflex points that correspond to a particular area of the body leads to either a reduction of excess stimulation or an enhancement of diminished activity of the affected region. The overall effect of auriculotherapy is to create a more balanced condition throughout the body.


  • Can one do these treatments on one's self?

    Insertion of acupuncture needles into any part of the body usually requires approved training and certification in acupuncture. Electrical stimulation or laser stimulation requires a comparable training and certification. Anyone can learn ear reflexology. By placing firm but gentle pressure on the relevant tender regions of the ear, one can achieve some relief of pain symptoms that are located in specific and even distal of the body.


     The Auriculotherapy Manual by Dr. Terry Oleson provides a detailed description of over 250 ear reflex points and The International Handbook of Ear Reflex Points describes these same ear points in nine different languages in order to assist international communication regarding the location of these points.

  • How difficult is it to learn auriculotherapy treatment procedures?

    Because of the simplicity of learning the inverted fetus somatotopic pattern on the ear, basic mastery of auriculotherapy skills can be achieved in just a few training sessions. The Auriculotherapy Manual by Dr. Terry Oleson provides a detailed description of over 250 ear reflex points and presents specific treatment plans for over 200 health conditions in a manner that is both comprehensive yet easy to understand. The International Handbook of Ear Reflex Points describes these same ear points in nine different languages in order to assist international communication regarding the location of these points. 


  • Are auriculotherapy treatments covered by health insurance?

    Whether the costs for auriculotherapy treatments are reimbursed to health care providers or HMO's depends both upon the type of license of the practitioner and the health insurance coverage of the client. Many health insurance agencies will accept auriculotherapy as a form of TENS (transcutaenous electrical nerve stimulation). Only some health insurance companies accept auriculotherapy when billed as a form of acupuncture.


  • How long do the benefits of auriculotherapy last?

    The range of responses to an auriculotherapy session are quite varied, but it is common that a patient suffering from severe pain will notice mild to marked reduction of their complaint on the very first session. This reduction in their pain experience can actually improve for the next several hours after treatment, but the benefits often begin to subside several days after the first treatment. With each successive treatment, the degree of pain relief usually lessens more. The duration of pain relief progressively extends from several days to several weeks.


    With smoking cessation and drug detoxification, the benefits of auriculotherapy can last several weeks after just one or two auricular treatments.

  • How many treatment sessions are needed to help patients?

    There is no set number of treatments for any health condition treated by auriculotherapy, but it is common that the severity of most conditions are moderately reduced by four to six sessions and greatly alleviated by eight to twelve sessions.


  • How many times per week are treatments provided?

    The number of treatment sessions per week depends upon the schedule of the patients, as well as the severity of their health condition. When possible, severe conditions can be treated on a daily basis, but many patients are not available to come in that often. Typically, patients are given two treatments per week for two to three weeks, then once a week for several more weeks. The frequency of sessions progressively decreases to once a month as the   treated disorder becomes less pronounced.


  • How long is a typical treatment session?

    The initial auriculotherapy session requires the greatest time. This is because it takes time to obtain a thorough patient history, examine the ear, evaluate the findings and establish a treatment plan. With auriculo acupuncture, using four to six acupuncture needles inserted and left in place, it will require approximately 20 minutes of actual treatment time. With transcutaneous auriculo electrical stimulation, each ear reflex point is first detected and then is usually stimulated for 10 to 30 seconds; requiring a total of 20 minutes for successively treating six to twelve points on each ear.

  • How does auricular needle insertion compare to electrical stimulation?

    While both the insertion of acupuncture needles into the skin of the ear and the transcutaneous electrical stimulation on the surface of ear reflex points can effectively alleviate various health conditions, the effects from electrical stimulation usually produce more rapid pain relief.


  • Does it matter what frequency of stimulation is used?

    Practitioners of Traditional Oriental Medicine usually stimulate body acupoints and ear acupoints with an alterration pattern of slow and fast frequencies, whereas followers of the work of Dr. Nogier use a frequency specific pattern that is dependent upon the zone of the ear to be treated. While stimulation frequency is important, the location of the ear point stimulated is a more important factor.


  • Is an electrical point locator necessary for detecting ear reflex points?

    In ancient China, electrical point locators were not available, and modern practitioners of Traditional Oriental Medicine do not usually use point locators to detect body acupoints. Nonetheless, more accurate localization of auricular acupoints is achieved by first detecting a point with an electrodermal measurement device. Unlike the wide spaced body acupoints, ear points are only a few millimeters from each other. Increased electrical skin conductance at an ear reflex point is one of the primary indicators that there is pathology in the corresponding part of the body. Abnormal electrical conductance can be found at body acupoints, early on, even prior to the development of pathology and symptoms from an underlying condition.


  • What are ear seeds or ear pellets?

    Small adhesive band-aids are often used to hold a small grain or a small metal ball onto a specific area of the ear to allow for maintained pressure at that ear reflex point.


  • What are the contraindications for auriculotherapy?

    As with other forms of acupuncture, there are few contraindications for the use of  auriculo acupuncture or auriculo electrotherapy.  It is important not to treat any pain that might be valuable information when diagnosing an underlying problem. It is important not to treat any pain that alerts the patient to limit range of movement of an injured area of the body. It is important not to treat women who are pregnant, and not to electrically stimulate the ear points of patients with a cardiac pace maker.

  • What are the side effects that occur from auriculotherapy?

    Because tenderness of ear points is one of the primary diagnostic features of auriculotherapy, soreness of the ear points stimulated during the treatment can sometimes continue for up to an hour after the treatment.

  • What are phases of auricular points?

    Dr. Paul Nogier has described three different somatotopic maps on the ear, in addition to the inverted fetus pattern he first described in 1957. These added phase maps provide additional locations on the ear for stimulating the ear to relieve a given medical condition.

  • What scientific studies verify the effectiveness of auriculotherapy?

    A list of the research articles and medical texts that describe the efficacy of clinical work with auriculotherapy  can be found here.

What is Auriculotherapy?




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Tuesday: 7:00 AM - 2:30 PM

Wednesday (Special Services): 7:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Thursday: 11:00AM - 6:00 PM

Friday: 7:00 AM - 2:30 PM

Myerowitz Chiropractic Clinic

1570 Broadway

Bangor, ME 04401