Auricular Therapy

Auriculotherapy – also known as auricular therapy (ear acupuncture) – is a form of acupuncture based on the idea that the ear is a microsystem, meaning that the entire body is represented on the auricle (or auricula, or pinna – the outer portion of the ear) in a similar fashion to reflexology (zone therapy) and iridology (iridodiagnosis), and that the entire body can be treated by stimulation of the surface of the ear exclusively.

  • Auriculotherapy is a term used to describe the treatment of pain, muscular skeletal disorders, and a broad range of medical conditions by the application of massage, or acupuncture needles to specific locations on the ear.
  • Auriculotherapy, and by extension, Auriculomedicine, was discovered and developed into a profoundly effective treatment protocol by Paul Nogier, a French doctor. In the early 1950’s he was able to determine the somatotopic presentation of the inverted fetus in the ear, with the anatomic regions of the fetus corresponding to specific zones of the ear. This led to a lifetime of continued research which took auricular therapy from the initial simple reflexive treatments to a powerful therapy that can both identify and treat specific body systems, parts or functions that are in disharmony.
  • Dr Nogier also discovered that there was a distinct change in the amplitude and dimension of the pulse, monitored at the radial artery on the wrist, when certain points on the auricle were stimulated. The ear thus, produced a sympathetic reflex which affected peripheral blood vessel activity. This occurs consistently and is both repeatable and measurable by modern equipment. This phenomenon is referred to as “The Vascular Autonomic Signal” (VAS)
  • Although there are historical references to ear acupuncture in China, it was not until Dr. Nogier’s discoveries that advances in ear acupuncture progressed in China. In respecting that, the Chinese acknowledged his contribution by describing him as the ‘Father of modern Ear Acupuncture’.
  • But Auriculotherapy is much more than ear acupuncture, it is also as a diagnostic tool within the Chinese medical model. Traditional Chinese Medical training provides a powerful background, a theoretical basis for diagnosis and an approach to treatment, but it is not Auriculotherapy or Auriculomedicine, however, Chinese Medicine utilizes Auriculotherapy as a very important adjunct to body acupuncture.
  • Auriculotherapy also uses the ear to help determine:
    • whether the right and left hemispheres of the brain are functioning as a dynamic whole
    • whether there are specific neurological, musculo-skeletal or organ systems that are in a state of imbalance
    • whether there are any blockages to treatment, such as scar tissue or emotional disorders.
    • The ear therefore is used both in treatment, as well as, a diagnostic tool.
  • Treatment is specific and points are precisely located either by reference to the VAS or with different instruments which are able to detect electrical activity within the ear at the different points. Accuracy is very important.
  • Auriculotherapy can be used to treat the same range of health conditions as Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is safe, comfortable and highly effective. It is important to note that painful conditions often respond very quickly to Auriculotherapy.
  • Ear acupuncture/Auriculotherapy also allows direct access to various centers of the brain, due to three principle nerves (Somatic Trigeminal nerve, Autonomic Vagus Nerve & the Cerebral Cervical Plexus Nerve) which innervate the human ear and is therefore, very effective for calming the nervous system & reducing stress, blocking pain, and curbing addictive behaviors.


  • Oleson, Terry (2003) Auriculotherapy Manual: Chinese and Western Systemts of Ear Acupuncture
  • Oleson, Terry (1998) Auriculotherapy Manual: Chinese and Western Systemts of Ear Acupuncture
  • Jim Chalmers –