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Auriculotherapy

Find a professional for Auriculotherapy

Auriculotherapy is a form of alternative medicine based on the idea that the ear is a micro system, meaning that the entire body is represented on the auricle (or auricula, or pinna - the outer portion of the ear) in a similar fashion to reflexology (zone therapy) and iridology (iridodiagnosis), and that the entire body can be treated by stimulation of the surface of the ear exclusively.  
   
In the 1950s, Dr. Paul Nogier noticed that a local lay practitioner in Lyon, France was treating sciatica by cauterizing an area of the ear, which prompted him to investigate ear acupuncture and subsequently develop auriculotherapy as a treatment for chronic pain and later for substance abuse.  Nogier first proposed a somatotopic map with the body appearing on the ear as an inverted fetus, with the head towards the lower lobule, the feet at the uppermost portion of the auricle, and the body in between; he subsequently produced three further "phase" diagrams providing additional and alternative sets of stimulation locations, in which the part or parts of the ear considered to represent a specific organ varies significantly depending on the "phase" of the ailment. Some French system practitioners now use a more distorted representation of the body in the ear, more similar to the somatotopic representation on the cerebral cortex. Many widely differing auriculotherapy maps exist, some being based on Chinese auricular acupuncture.  Chinese system diagrams place more emphasis on metaphorical names rather than anatomical locations.

Auriculotherapy differs from acupuncture in that considers the ear to be a localized reflex system connected to the central nervous system whereas ear acupuncture focuses on the acupuncture meridians.  Auriculotherapy uses neither needles nor fixed stimulation points.  Treatment consists of stimulation of the auricle, usually by means of an electrical probe, or sometimes laser therapy.

Author: Christopher Holder, ND Candidate '07
 


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