Auricular Therapy for decreasing pain and anxietyWritten by: Dr. Tony Willcox, D.O.M., A.P | Sep 26, 2013
Auricular Therapy for decreasing pain and anxiety is a wonderful treatment. While acupuncture may be practiced all over the body, one particularly interesting bodily relationship is that between the full body and the ear. In acupuncture, the ear is considered to be “holographic,” meaning that the entire body is considered to be mapped onto the ear, providing points of treatment for a range of ailments. Indeed, ear acupuncture treatments are not uncommonly thought to be even more effective than acupuncture as practiced on the full body. There is also a similar correspondence between the ear and the feet in regards to this full body mapping, but it is typically less painful to perform acupuncture on the ear than on the bottoms of the feet.
The Inverted Fetus Concept
Auricular Therapy for decreasing pain and anxiety uses one common model for ear acupuncture is what is known as the “inverted fetus concept.” In this system, developed in the 1950s by Dr. Nogier, the image of an inverted and somewhat distorted fetus is overlaid onto the image of the ear. From there, the alignment of various parts of the fetus is used to establish where the acupuncture point is located. There are also additional points for Auricular Therapy for decreasing pain and anxiety, particular kinds of illnesses, and more advanced images that go beyond the simple inverted fetus delineate the location of certain organs and sub-organs that are difficult to place with the initial overlay.
Mapping the Ear
Some areas of the body are represented more than once on the ear map of the body. This is at least in part because there are multiple types of points that are located on the ear, including helix points, sanjiao, and shenmen. Helix points work to reduce fevers, and treat swelling and other inflammation, while sanjiao points deal with glandular and circulatory problems, as well as chest and abdominal issues. Finally, shenmen points provide for sedation, help treat mental illnesses, reduce inflammation and pain, and aid in reducing the severity of epilepsy.
Because the ear maps the entire body, there are entire practices that deal exclusively with the ear. The most common of these is the NADA Protocol, developed through the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association. The NADA Protocol focuses on 5 points on each ear and targets the lungs, liver, kidneys, as well as helping to reduce anxiety and stress. The protocol is easy to teach and is used in a range of settings, including inpatient addiction treatment centers, prisons, homeless shelters, and through street outreach programs. The NADA Protocol takes on the extreme flexibility of ear acupuncture to make the practice more accessible to those who need it.