“I know you’re a big skeptic so I’m going to ask you. What is auricular medicine and does it really work?”
Auricular medicine is based on the idea that the ear is somewhat of a “road map” to the rest of body. Followers of this alternative medicine claim that by manipulating certain spots, called acupoints, a trained practitioner of this healing art can treat several hundred diseases.
In this country, one of the most popular uses of auricular medicine is to help people stop smoking. In this case, the ear isn’t actually pierced with a needle; magnets are instead used to create constant pressure on a specific spot.
Another popular variation of this practice is known as ear stapling. Ear stapling involves placing a metal rod in the ear to reduce hunger and aid in weight loss.
“Think of auricular medicine as similar to reflexology.”
Where Auricular Medicine Comes From
There is considerable evidence that the physicians of ancient China believed that the ears were the points in the body in which all 12 of the body’s “meridians” passed, intersected or terminated. In the 1950s, a French physician named Paul Nogier re-popularized this belief by publishing opinions that the shape of the ear mimicked the shape of a woman’s womb just prior to childbirth. Dr. Nogier believed that this was of great significance and based much of his work on this idea.
Studies on Auricular Medicine
Auricular medicine has been the subject of a handful of studies. Most of these studies have come from China and many have been criticized for their size or design. But a few have produced some promising results.
On the other hand, critics point to studies like the 2007 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine which points out that both “real” acupuncture and “sham acupuncture”—a practice in which needles are placed in random, non-acupuncture points—perform well for pain relief.
Auricular Medicine International Research & Training Center. (2004). Retrieved from http://www.earmedicine.us on January 27, 2008.
Haake, M., et al. (2008). German Acupuncture Trials (GERAC) for chronic low back pain: randomized, multicenter, blinded, parallel-group trial with 3 groups.