Submitted by David Overton

We use Auriculotherapy, which is ear acupuncture point stimulation with specialized electrical devices that requires no needles, to treat a wide variety of conditions.  Originally developed by the Chinese, the treatments were modified by the Americans, particularly UCLA School of Medicine.  Needless auriculotherapy is approved by the FDA for treatment of pain, headaches, musculoskeletal disorders, stress, insomnia, eating disorders and smoking cessation.  Auriculo-therapy is covered by most insurance and can successfully treat other health conditions.  It has proven so effective in pain control with soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan that the US military is training additional MDs in auriculotherapy treatments.

The ear points are detected by tenderness, examination or special electrical devices.  Red or brown spots may indicate acute inflammation, while white, flaky, crusty or peeling spots can indicate chronic conditions.  Often there are no examination findings and the points are found with electrical testing devices.  Treatments consists of acupressure (not very practical), acupuncture needles (time consuming, risk of infection) or electrical treatments (easy, fast and no serious side effects).

For obvious reasons, we use the electrical treatments.  It works by stimulating the autonomic nervous system to reduce over activity (high blood pressure, muscle tension, others) or increasing under activity (weak organs, low endorphins, low hormones, poor immune functions, others).  Typically results are seen within 2-9 brief treatments while acupuncture with needles often take 10-20 sessions.

Body systems and problems, from head to toes, have been mapped for treatments.  With electrical treatments, it takes 5-20 seconds for treatment.  It’s typically painless, but can be adjusted for sensitive patients.  Treatment of the ear points activates reflexes throughout the body, stimulates organs, stimulates brain functions and interacts with the Chinese meridian systems.

A partial listing of conditions that respond include:

  • Addictive behaviors and drug detoxification – includes weight control, smoking, alcohol
  • Acute and chronic pain of the hands, arms, shoulders, legs, ankles and feet
  • Back pain and body aches – includes abdominal pains, arthritis, pelvic pain, fibromyalgia
  • Headaches & neck pain – includes sinusitis, tension, migraine, muscle headaches and neuralgias
  • Dental pain – includes gum problems, dry mouth, tooth aches
  • Neurological disorders – includes ADD, tremors, nerve pain
  • Stress – includes fatigue, insomnia, serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, epinephrine, acetylcholine, GABA and other neurotransmitter problems
  • Psychological problems – anxiety, depression, OCD and more
  • Eye and vision problems
  • Nose and throat – allergies, tonsillitis, sore throats and more
  • Skin and hair – acne, cold sores, rashes, rosacea, shingles
  • Circulation, – anemia, angina, slow or fast heart rate, high or low blood pressure, poor circulation, lymphatic problems
  • Lungs – asthma, bronchitis, cough and other problems
  • Digestion – bloating, constipation, irritable bowel, diarrhea, gas, indigestion, ulcers
  • Abdominal organs – diabetes, gallbladder, liver, pancreas, colitis
  • Kidneys & bladder – infections, bladder control, bedwetting
  • Women’s health – breast pain, painful and irregular periods, endometriosis, menopause, PMS, vaginal problems
  • Endocrine – calcium regulation, adrenal, thyroid, male and female hormones
  • Immune – allergies, inflammation, infections

Like many alternative treatments, auriculotherapy for one condition (such as headaches) will often benefit other problems (neck, shoulder or back pain or tension).  It should not be used with heart pacemakers, during pregnancy, around the eyes or carotid arteries.  Alcohol and street drugs should not be taken prior to treatments.  Side effects are minimal but include transient skin irritation, ear redness or warmth.  Sometimes fatigue is noted after treatments because endorphins (pain reducing chemicals) are released.


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