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Home > Chinese Medicine Basics > Ear Acupuncture

Ear Acupuncture

By Heather Schiffke

What is ear acupuncture?

Ear acupuncture, also known as auricular therapy, is based on the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Auricular therapy is widely used for many conditions, including addiction treatment, mood disorders, obesity, pain, and other conditions. This medical system emphasizes a holistic approach to medicine, an approach that treats the whole person. The acupuncture points found on the ear help to regulate the body's internal organs, structures, and functions.

Auricular therapy has a long history of use in China. It was mentioned in the most famous of ancient Chinese medical textbooks, “The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine.” In modern times, auricular therapy has been shown to stimulate the release of endorphins, the body's own feel-good chemicals.

How is ear acupuncture used in a treatment?

Ear acupuncture is generally incorporated into a regular acupuncture treatment. In addition to using acupuncture points on the rest of the body, your acupuncturist may select a few ear acupuncture points that they feel will be helpful for your particular condition.

What are ear seeds and ear tacks?

Ear acupuncture points may be stimulated for a longer period of time by using ear seeds or ear tacks. Ear seeds are small seeds from the Vaccaria plant. These seeds are held in place on the ear with a small piece of adhesive tape. Ear seeds may be left in the ear for a few days or up to two weeks. Ear tacks are very small needles with an adhesive backing. Ear tacks are inserted into the ear and left in the ear for a few days or up to one week.

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