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According to the principles of auricular therapy, each area of the ear corresponds to a different anatomical portion of the body. A large number of sites have been identified on the ear which become spontaneously tender or otherwise react to the presence of disease or injury elsewhere in the body. These sites are reportedly consistent from one individual to the next. Stimulation of these ear points in time exerts certain therapeutic effects on those parts of the body with which they are associated.
As a comprehensive system of diagnosis and treatment, ear reflexology is of recent origin. A French physician by the name of Nogier, writing in a German acupuncture periodical in 1957, first drew serious attention to the correspondences between specific sites on the ear and other parts of the body. After years of careful observation relating points of tenderness, morphological and coloration changes on the ear to disease elsewhere in the body, more than 200 sites were charted on the auricle (ear) by Chinese medical workers. Ear reflexology is not only effective in the treatment of a wide range of common diseases, it can also be used with good results in the treatment of difficult emotional states.
Besides assessing the treatment effects resulting from auricular therapy, both French and Chinese physicians have reported that it is possible to diagnose a variety of pathological conditions by examining the ear. When there is a pain problem involving a given area of the body, the corresponding ear point is said to be "reactive", manifesting greatly increased tenderness and electrical conductivity as compared to the surrounding areas of the ear. Several investigators have provided clinical evidence supporting the therapeutic efficiency of auricular therapy for the relief of pain and the healing of disease.
With auricular therapy, clients are able to find out what is wrong with their body, way before signs show up on a typical physical or blood test. Whereas a physical exam or blood test is unable to treat abnormal readings, auricular therapy is able to treat even slight abnormalities. That's the sheer beauty of natural health care - actually treating abnormalities before they progressively worsen.
Auricular medicine is a highly effective system for analyzing areas of problems, and treating the entire body from the external ear. It originated in China, but has been redeveloped in Europe (primarily France and Germany) over the past 40 years. Prior to that, Egyptians used earrings to treat vision and fertility problems. Through Mediterranean trading routes, the Romans learned this technique and used it, for example, cauterizing specific points on ears for treatment of sciatica.
In 1957, Paul Nogier, M.D., a French neurologist noticed several of his patients had scars on the same spot on their ears (Nogier, 1972). They each related their scars to a prior treatment for sciatic pain by a local complimentary medicine practitioner. Nogier confirmed that treatment of specific points on the external ear alleviated specific problems in other parts of the body. He proposed and proved a somatotopic relationship exists between different anatomical areas of the body and specific points on the ear. He then began mapping auricular points based on an embryological model, and found somatic correlation's with mesoderm, ectoderm and endodermal auricular structures.
In the U.S., Oleson, Kroening and Bresler (1980) completed a conclusive study to determine the validity of auricular points. They achieved a 75.2% correlation between auricular diagnostic measurements and problem areas.
The key is to treat at the exact point on the front and directly behind it on the back of the ear associated with the regional area of pathology. These areas are called corresponding points. They will be sensitive to pressure, sometimes long after the pathology is considered healed. The points Shen-men (literally, "heaven's gate"), Adrenal, and Subcortex (thalamus) should also be treated on the front of the ear for neuromusculoskeletal pain disorders.
Treatments are usually a combination of ear (auricular) and foot reflexology.
What is Auricular Therapy?
Auricular therapy integrates Western and Chinese theories of health as balance and equilibrium.
The use of the ear is based on the rich and the multiple connections which it has on the central nervous system. The shape of the body is projected into the ear and every point of the body corresponds to a point of the ear. In a healthy person the link is not apparent but when there is an imbalance of the physiological equilibrium it's point of projection in the ear becomes painful. The therapist then stimulates the painful points of the ear by massage or cauterization.
What are the benefits of Auricular and Feet therapy?
Activates the meridian which regulated energy flow
Stimulates the internal organs
Improves the circulation in general
Aids in the flow of the lymphatic system
Induces deep relaxation
Stimulates the brain
Improves the immune system as prevention measure
The basic concept of Auricular Therapy is that the nerves in the skin overlay specific areas of the external ear which correspond to specific parts of the brain, which has a reflex connection to the body. These reflexes are activated when problems in part of the body induce reflex reactions in the external ear, manifested as changes in tenderness and altered blood circulation. These reflexes are activated when points on an ear are stimulated to relieve pathology in another area of the body.
Stimulation of ear reflex points leads to an enhancement of diminished tender activity of the affected region. By correcting pathological reflex centers in the brain, stimulation of auricular points can lead to balance, where any form of stress or pain is lessened.
Auricular reflexology can be used to treat health conditions in distant parts of the body. By stimulating points in the ear can not only help problems in the face and head, but can also relieve pathological disorders in the chest, abdomen, lower back and feet. According to theory, it is not that there are direct connections between the ear and the back, 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.
Almost all health conditions can be affected to some degree by stimulated ear points. The most common reported uses have been for control of chronic pain, detoxification from addictions, (smoking and heroin and cocaine), relief from nausea, and high blood pressure.
Human studies have shown that stimulation of ear acupuncture points appears to cause the systemic release of endorphins.