Frequently Asked Questions about Auriculotherapy

What is Auriculotherapy?

Auriculotherapy is similar to ear acupuncture but without needles. Auriculotherapy stimulates through specific points on the ear with a special tool, the Stim Plus Pro. The treatment is virtually pain-free.


Is Auriculotherapy Accepted by Conventional Western Medicine?

While ear acupuncture has been practiced in Asia 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 sufficent 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 auricluotherapy, it is expected that even more physicians will acknowledge the benefits of auriculotherapy.


What is the Role of Endorphins in Auriculotherapy?

The endorphins, endogenous morphine molecules that relieve pain in a manner similiar to external opiate chemicals, have been used as one explanation for how auriculotherapy serves to relieve pain. Both animal research and human studies have shown that stimulation of ear acupuncture points appears to cause the systematic release of endorphins. Administration of the opiate antagonist naloxone partially blocks the analgesia produced by either auriculotherapy or by acupuncture.


What Health Conditions are Most Helped By Auriculotherapy?

Because every part of the external ear connects through the microsystem remote reflexes to every part of the body, a wide variety of health problems are relieved by auriculotherapy. Almost all health conditions can be affected to some degree by stimulating reactive ear points. The most commonly reported uses of auirculotherapy have been for the control of chronic pain, detoxification from addictive drugs, relief of nausea, and reduction of hypertension.


How Does Auriculotherapy Affect Drug Abuse?

As with pain control explanations for the effectiveness of auriculotherapy in facilitating the reduction of drug abuse derive from both a Western neurological conceptualization and a Traditional Oriental Medicine perspective. The first evidence of the power of auriculotherapy in reducing the substance cravings of drug addicts came from H.L. Wen of Hong Kong in the 1970’s, and were expanded upon by Dr. Michel Smith, a physician who practices Oriental Medicine in New York City. The Lung point on the ear used to relieve addiction disorders is said to affect the energy of the Lung detoxification. A Western neurological explanation of drug detoxification with auriculotherapy is based on the observation that the concha area of the ear which is used to treat addiction problems represents the control of the autonomic nervous system through the vagus nerve and through the hypothalamus of the brain.


How Are Other Conditions Relieved By Auriculotherapy?

By facilitating a balance of energy throughout the body macrosystems or by correcting pathological reflex centers in the brain, stimulation of the auricular acupuncture microsystem can lead to a homeostatic state whereby any form of stress or pain is lessoned. Stimuation of the specific ear reflex points that correspond to a particular part of the body leads to either a reduction of excess stimulation or an enhancement of diminished under activity of the affected region. The overall effect of auriculotherapy is to create a more balanced condition throughout the body.


Are Auriculotherapy Treatments Covered by Health Insurance?

Whether Auriculotherapy treatments are reimbursed, health care providers or HMO’s depends both upon the type of license of the practitioner and health insurance coverage of the client. When billed as applied neurostimulation as part of a regular office visit, many health insurance agencies will accept auriculotherapy as a form of TENS (transcutaenous electrical nerve stimulation).


How Long Do the Benefits of Auriculotherapy Last?

The range of responses to an auriculotherapy session are quite varied, but it is common that a patient suffering from severe pain will notice mild to marked reduction of their complaint on the very first session. This reduction in their pain experience can actually improve for the next several hours after treatment, but the benefits often begin to subside several days after the first treatment. With each successive treatment, the degree of pain relief usually becomes more and more prominent and the duration of pain relief progressively extends from several days to several weeks. With smoking cessation and drug detoxification, the benefits of auriculotherapy can last several days after just one or two auriculotherapy treatments.


How Many Treatment Sessions Are Needed to Help Patients?

There is no set number of treatments for any health condition treated by auriculotherapy, but it is common that the severity of most conditions are moderately reduced by four to six sessions. and greatly alleviated by eight to twelve sessions.


How Many Times Per Week Are Treatments Provided?

Patient typically begins with 3x a week for the first week.


How Long is a Typical Treatment Session?

A typical treatment is 20 minutes.


What Are the Contraindications for Auriculotherapy?

The only contraindications for Auriculotherapy is treating an open wound on the ear.

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