Auriculotherapy

Auriculotherapy, or auricular therapy, or ear acupuncture, or auriculoacupuncture is a form of alternative medicine based on the idea that the ear is a microsystem of the entire body represented on the auricle, the outer portion of the ear. Ailments of the entire body are assumed to be treatable by stimulation of the surface of the ear exclusively. Similar mappings are used in reflexology and iridology. These mappings are not based on or supported by any medical or scientific evidence.[1][2][3] Auricular acupuncture writers often claim that the method goes back to early Chinese sources, although there are only a few references in Chinese medicine texts that make that reference plausible. The main claims are that the Han Dynasty book Huangdi Neijing states that the kidneys open in the ears, so that superfluous substances of the kidneys are deposited in the ears, making the ears an instrument of diagnosis. Also, the same text states that many channels (Jingluomai/meridians) exit in the ear. Auriculotherapy was developed by the French neurologist Paul Nogier in 1957[citation needed] using a phrenological method of projection of a fetal Homunculus on the ear for reference of complaints and points for treatment. The method is an offshoot of Phrenology. In 1980, a double blind experimentally controlled research study at UCLA Pain Management Center department of anesthesiology UCLA School of Medicine con ucted a research study by Richard J. Kroeuning M.D., Ph.D and Terry D. Oleson Ph.D. This study reported in the medical journal, PAIN, verified the scientific accuracy of ear diagnosis. There is a statistically significant level of 75% accuracy achieved in diagnosing musculoskeletal pain problems in 40 pain patients. Auriculotherapy is based on the notion that body structures and functions are somehow "mapped" on the outer surface of the ear. It can be defined as the stimulation of the skin of the ear for diagnosing and treating health problems in other parts of the body. The two main approaches have overlapping terminology and techniques but different theoretical foundations. The original approach commonly called ear acupuncture, auricular acupuncture, or auriculoacupunctureis said to date back to ancient China and involves insertion of acupuncture needles to stimulate points on the ear. It is based on traditional Chinese notions related to the flow of nonmaterial energy through hypothetical channels called meridians, but current versions of this approach postulate that it works through a system of reflexes that are organized on the outer surface of the ears [1,2]. This version of auricular acupuncture relates "acupuncture points" to organ function and includes "master points" said to alleviate pain, activate glands, produce sedation, and "balance" the left and right halves of the brain [2].