Another name for ear acupuncture – Auriculotherapy applies acupuncture principles to specific points on the ear. It is believed that healing processes can be invoked by working with these points to influence organs and bodily functions. 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.
Auriculotherapy is quick, inexpensive and a non-invasive method to control pain. It has been used as anesthesia during medical procedures and frequently used to help substance abusers overcome addiction as well as treat chronic health issues.
Depending on the patient and what is being treated, different methods are used – single or multiple needles, location on the ear, slight pricks or deep insertions, etc. Sometimes, even permanent needles are called for, they are attached to the ear with tape for several days or weeks when constant stimulation is required (such as when treating addictions and chronic health problems).
Conditional approval of the practice of acupuncture was given by a consensus panel of the U.S. National Institutes of Health in November, 1997 and they included an evaluation of studies which supported the use of ear acupuncture for pain relief and addiction treatment.