Auriculotherapy

If you have questions about what an auriculotherapy doctor is, you are not alone. Dr. Angel Santiago of Santiago Family Chiropractic in Lewisville, TX offers this service to his patients and he will be happy to explain what it is and how it can be of help to you. 

What is auriculotherapy?

Auriculotherapy is a form of alternative medicine that treats different parts of the body by stimulating the auricle of the outer ear. When it is referred to as ear acupuncture, acupuncture needles are used. When electrical stimulation of the ear reflex points is used, it is auriculotherapy. Magnets and lasers can also be used to stimulate the points on the ear. The doctor who uses this treatment is an auriculotherapy doctor. Another option is auricular acupressure, which is reflexology applied to the ear. 

While western medicine has been slow to understand this treatment, it is gaining acceptance in some quarters. Studies have been done that show its effectiveness in treating many neurological disorders, including migraines, epilepsy, and insomnia. It is also used to treat chronic pain, in particular low back pain and sciatica. 

About the ear

For the purpose of auriculotherapy, the ear is divided into areas that relate to parts of the body. The antihelix is the area that is related to the spine. By applying stimulation to the area of the external ear, the results can be felt in the spine. If you are being treated for pain in the right knee for instance, treatment to the right ear in the designated location will be applied. Given the safety of this type of therapy, the NIH has determined that it merits further attention. 

Uses of auriculotherapy with other therapy

The relaxation that results from auriculotherapy makes a great complement to other forms of chiropractic treatment. When the body is relaxed and feeling less stress, it is more receptive to things like spinal manipulation. It works very well in conjunction with the gentle manipulation that Dr. Santiago uses. 

To make an appointment with Dr. Santiago, an auriculotherapy doctor at Santiago Family Chiropractic in Lewisville, TX, give us a call at 972-956-8297. We also serve patients from Flower Mound and Highland Village, TX. 

How is Auriculotherapy different from Acupuncture?
Auriculotherapy is typically considered one form of acupuncture, but there are both differences and similarities between the two procedures. Acupuncture is a form of medical treatment involving the stimulation of acupuncture points located on energy channels extending over the surface of the body, which are known as meridians. From the philosophy of Taoism, there are six Yang meridians and six Yin meridians. In classical acupuncture, it is the Yang meridians that directly connect to the external ear. These energy lines of force are blocked or congested when there is some pathology in a specific area of the body. Insertion of acupuncture needles into specific acupoints can relieve the symptoms and underlying pathology of a particular health problem. Some of the meridian energy lines of force connect to the external ear, thus creating the field of auricular acupuncture. Different perspectives of auriculotherapy focus not on the acupuncture meridians but on the use of the ear as a localized reflex system connected to the central nervous system.
What is the History of Auriculotherapy?
The earliest written records of ear acupuncture date back to the Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine, a compilation of acupuncture procedures that were in practice in 500 BC. Within this extensive text that covers a variety of acupuncture treatments, there is mention of specific acupuncture points on the external ear for the relief of certain medical disorders. However, the manner in which auricular acupuncture is practiced today in China is actually based upon more recent discoveries that occurred in France in the 1950's. The Traditional Oriental Medicine practiced in ancient China included just a scattered array of acupoints on the auricle for just a few health problems, whereas the current practice of auricular acupuncture shows a more complete organization of ear reflex points that can be used to relieve many health problems. In the West, the earliest references to ear treatments were referred to in medical records from ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome. The most complete descriptions of medical treatments through the ear were recorded in ancient Persia. A trail of evidence of the use of auricular stimulation for the treatment of sciatica back pain can be followed from these Persian records through medieval Europe to modern France. Since the 1950's, the use of specific ear points as a complete reflex system that can alleviate many health problems has been utilized by clinical practitioners in other parts of Europe, in Asia, and in North and South America.
Who discovered Auriculotherapy?
While the earliest uses of ear acupuncture points dates back to ancient China, modern applications of auriculotherapy are based on the work of Dr. Paul Nogier of Lyon, France. In the 1950's, Dr. Nogier noticed a strange scar on the upper ear of some of his patients. He found that all of them had been treated for sciatica pain by a local lay practitioner. This woman had cauterized a specific area of the external ear in order to relieve their low back pain. Dr. Nogier conducted a similar procedure on his own sciatica patients and found that their back pain was also reduced. He then tried other means of stimulating this "sciatica point," including the use of acupuncture needles, and found that they too were effective in alleviating sciatica pain. The brilliance of Dr. Nogier was in extending this one observation into a more comprehensive model. Dr. Nogier theorized that if an area of the upper external ear is effective in treating low back pain, maybe other parts of the ear could treat other parts of the body. The ear is said to represent the whole anatomical body, but in an upside down orientation. Nogier's theory contended that the auricle could be compared to an inverted fetus, with the head represented on the lower ear lobe, the feet at the top of the external ear, and the rest of the body in-between. This model was first presented to naturopathic practitioners in France in 1957, then spread to acupuncturists in Germany, and finally was translated into Chinese. The Chinese seemed to have adopted the inverted fetus model of ear acupuncture in 1958.
How is Auriculotherapy related to other forms of Alternative Medicine?
Auriculotherapy is considered one form of alternative medicine, which also includes acupuncture, chiropractic manipulation, homeopathy, and biofeedback. All of these techniques are also referred to as Complementary Medicine, in that they are not only an alternative to conventional Western medical treatments, they can serve as an additional procedure which complements the practice conventional medicine. Auriculotherapy can reduce the tension, stress, and pain not fully relieved by other medical procedures, but works best when implemented as part of a multidisciplinary complement of multiple treatment approaches. While ear acupuncture is often used in conjunction with body acupuncture, auriculotherapy can also effectively relieve pain, stress and tension when used by itself.
Is Auriculotherapy accepted by Conventional Western Medicine?
While ear acupuncture has been practiced in Asia for over 2,000 years and auriculotherapy has been used in continental Europe for the past 40 years, it is only recently been considered by most medical doctors in the United States. Most MD's do not have sufficient information about auriculotherapy to make an informed comment on its effectiveness. In November of 1997, a consensus panel of the U.S National Institutes of Health gave conditional approval of the practice of acupuncture. They included an evaluation of those studies which supported the use of ear acupuncture for pain relief and addiction treatment. As more research accumulates on the efficacy of auriculotherapy, it is expected that even more physicians will acknowledge the benefits of auriculotherapy.

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