Acupuncture, a form of traditional Chinese medicine, has been practiced for thousands of years. An acupuncturist inserts needles into acupuncture points on meridians that run across the entire body. While auriculotherapy is a form of traditional Chinese medicine as well, it refers to the stimulation of points on the outside of the ear to elicit a therapeutic response in another area of the body. Auriculotherapy encompasses ear acupuncture and additional means of applying pressure to ear points, including ear seeds and acupressure.

The ear acts like a switchboard to the brain and a microcosm for the entire body. Signals are sent from the brain to the area of the body being treated. For example, stimulating a certain point on the ear may directly affect the digestive system.

Ear acupuncture dates back to Ancient China but the current methodology is actually based on the work of a neurologist from France, Dr. Paul Nogier. In the 1950s, Nogier noticed many of his patients had scars on specific areas of the ear. When he inquired about the scars, the individuals explained their practitioners had cauterized these ear points to treat sciatica

Dr. Nogier, known as the “father of auriculotherapy,” adapted this idea into a less invasive treatment. Sciatica patients received relief and he found there were a multitude of other spots on the ear that corresponded to even more body parts and could treat a variety of other conditions. He dedicated his life to the therapy.

Auriculotherapy can be performed during a standard acupuncture treatment, however it can be used without acupuncture as well. Ear seeds, a safe, pain-free, convenient, auriculotherapy treatment, are an excellent way to glean the benefits in the comfort of your own home. The ear seeds, crafted from the seeds of the vaccaria plant, are secured to key acupuncture points on the outer ear with adhesive tape.

Once secured, ear seeds stimulate the points through light pressure over time. Many patients will even press on them several times a day for additional benefits. Plus, vaccaria is known to balance energy, invigorate blood and further promote healing.

Ear seeds are commonly used, with much success, to aid patients in quitting smoking, losing weight, alleviating sciatica and decreasing stress. However, research indicates a whole host of other issues respond to auriculotherapy.

Due to the lack of side effects, safety and efficacy of treating illness with ear seeds, it can be an excellent choice for patients of all ages. Similar to acupuncture, ear seeds not only treat certain conditions; they also balance the energy, or qi, and promote an overall sense of wellbeing.

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