AURICULOTHERAPY FOR ANXIETY AND STRESS CONTROL
Auriculotherapy or ear acupuncture has its roots in ancient China. There is evidence that other early civilizations utilized forms of ear acupuncture. Hippocrates recorded clinical uses of ear rings and forms of ear stimulation for various ailments, primarily sexual problems and menstrual disorders. Ancient Persian medical records dating to 200 A.D. mentioned a treatment for sciatica using cauterizations of the ear. This practice was also mentioned during the Renaissance and served as the model that in the 1950’s, inspired Dr. Paul Nogier, a French neurologist, to develop modern auriculotherapy protocols.
Auriculotherapy triggers connections between the network of nerves in the ear and the brain. Every organ and anatomical structure in the body is represented in the ear. The entire body is depicted as an inverted fetus on the ear. A double blind, UCLA study in 1980 verified the accuracy of Auricular diagnosis. This study confirmed that the points are always found in exact locations and that ‘there is a somatotropic organization of the body represented on the human auricle”
The application of pressure or stimulation to specific points on the ear elicits nerve impulses toward the brain which reset undesired memory patterns. Examples of pathological patterns can range from unhealthy desires for food or nicotine to anxiety reactions that are inappropriate or beyond one’s control.
Another mechanism that explains the effectiveness of auriculotherapy has to do with the release of endorphins when certain points are stimulated. Endorphins are naturally produced opiates that are associated with the runners high or intense exercise. Research has shown that stimulation of certain points on the ear, especially the Shen Men point, results in increased levels of circulating endorphins.
An auriculotherapy session consists of 2-3 office visits per month in which 3-5 tiny needles are inserted in specific points depending on the desired treatment goal. These points are further stimulated with electrical current. After removal, tiny pieces of tape which contain a Vicaria seed (the size of a tiny BB) are placed on the points. These ear seeds remain in place for 10 days or until the next office treatment.
Ear seeds give the patient a tool for reinforcing the process of reprogramming the brain to no longer turn to nicotine or food for stress relief. When stress events occur, the patient is instructed to press on the tape. For the overweight patient, the appetite suppression and mouth points help break a pathologic reflex and enforce willpower. Along with the increase of endorphins which naturally produces a calming effect , the power that nicotine or food held begins to diminish.
If you have any questions about incorporating this natural approach as a stress control tool, feel free to call us at 251-621-2224.