Auriculotherapy is the stimulation of the auricle of the external
ear for the diagnosis and treatment of health conditions in other
parts of the body. It is also known as ear acupuncture or auricular
acupuncture when the stimulation is achieved by the insertion of
acupuncture needles, where as the term auriculotherapy often
refers to electrical stimulation of the surface of ear reflex points.
Auriculotherapy is based on the theory that the ear is a microsystem which reflects the entire body, represented on the auricle, the outer portion of the ear. Conditions affecting the physical, mental or emotional health of the patient are assumed to be treatable by stimulation of the surface of the ear exclusively. Specific points on the ear can be stimulated by manual pressure, referred to as auricular acupressure or ear reflexology. These points can also be stimulated with lasers, magnets, seeds and ear pellets.Auriculotherapy was first developed by the French neurologist Paul Nogier in 1957. It is a treatment diffusing in all over the world, and its patterns follow the principles of Chinese acupuncture. Modern research is confirming the efficacy of ear acupuncture mostly in the treatment of pain and of anxiety related disorders. They discovered that tissue treated with needles released an elevated level of adenosine, a natural compound that the body uses as a local pain reliever. The other theory suggests that the needles stimulate nerves, causing an increase in endorphins. These endorphins block pain receptors in the brain, which in turn reduces the overall pain felt by a patient. The release of endorphins also has a calming effect on the patient. Auriculotherapy is often used for detoxification such as smoking cessation, drugs, and weight loss, but can also be very useful for many other types of physical, mental or emotional disorders.