Ear Reflexology/Auricular Therapy
Ear Reflexology/Auricular Therapy
Just like the feet and hands, there is a map of the body on the ears. Stimulation of sensitive points on the ears have a therapeutic effect on those parts of the body that are mapped. Auricular therapy is utilized by acupuncturists, shiatsu practitioners, and naturopaths. Reflexologists, who do not use acupuncture needles, use thumb and finger pressure for Ear Reflexology.
Though there are historic records of tiny burns to certain zones in the ears around 400 BC, and twenty therapeutic points in the ears available in acupuncture by 618-907 AD, as being a comprehensive system of treatment, ear reflexology is of more recent origin.
Dr Paul Nogier, French physician writing in a German acupuncture periodical in 1957, first drew serious attention to the correspondences between specific sites on the ear and other parts of the body. When he had patients showing up with burn marks on their ears, a form of local folk healing for back pain, he began years of careful observation relating points of tenderness, morphological and coloration changes on the ear to disease elsewhere in the body. More than 200 sites were then charted on the auricle (ear) by Chinese medical workers.
The Difference between Auricular Therapy and Ear Reflexology
Auricular Therapy is the approach used by Physicians and other licensed medical practitioners. French and Chinese physicians have reported that it is possible to diagnose a variety of pathological conditions by examining the ear. When there is pain in part of the body, the corresponding ear point is said to be "reactive", manifesting greatly increased tenderness and electrical conductivity as compared to the surrounding areas of the ear. Several investigators have provided clinical evidence supporting the therapeutic efficiency of auricular therapy for the relief of pain and the healing of disease. Reflexologists are not doctors and cannot diagnose or treat specific illnesses. Reflexologists use specific touch techniques to help different parts of the body relax, so the body can normalize itself naturally.
The Application of Ear Reflexology
Ear Reflexology is administered through thumb and finger pressure techniques applied to the external ears. When used alongside other reflex maps an Ear Reflexology treatment may last 5-15 minutes. As a stand alone treatment a Reflexologist may offer a 30 minute Ear Reflexology session. Some ear reflexology sessions involve 3-5 minute holds on specific points.
Contraindications for Ear Reflexology include psoriasis or eczema sores that are open or other wounds to the ears that are not yet healed. A session should be postponed until the issue clears up or an alternative map, such as the hands, may be used. Clients with external hearing aids may choose to remove them for a session. Those with internal, or implanted, devices will best know if external stimulus to the ear will be appropriate for them.
Human studies have shown that
stimulation of ear acupuncture points appears to cause the systemic
release of endorphins.You can feel the relaxation effect for yourself by using the thumb and index finger to gently rub the entire outer surface of both ears.
The Basic Concept of Auricular Therapy
The basic concept of Auricular Therapy is that the nerves in the skin overlay specific areas of the external ear which correspond to specific parts of the brain, which has a reflex connection to the body. These reflexes are activated when problems in part of the body induce reflex reactions in the external ear, manifested as changes in tenderness and altered blood circulation. These reflexes are stimulated when pressure is applied to points on an ear in order to help another area of the body.
Stimulation of ear reflex points leads to a diminished tenderness of the affected area. By correcting pathological reflex centers in the brain, stimulation of auricular points can lead to balance, where any form of stress or pain is lessened.
Auricular reflexology can be used to
treat health conditions in distant parts of the body. Stimulating
points in the ear can not only help problems in the face and head,
but can also relieve pathological disorders in the chest, abdomen,
lower back and feet. The theory is that nerves from
the ear connect to reflex centers in the brain, which send
neurological reflex pathways to the spinal cord and then to neurons
going to the spine or to the foot. For instance, the stomach may be sending a message to the brain saying, "Stomach hurts." Stimulating the reflex points sends a message to the brain, "stomach okay, stomach okay," then the brain send a message to the stomach saying, "You're okay."
Among licensed medical practitioners, the most common
reported uses for Auricular Therapy have been for control of chronic pain, detoxification
from addictions, (smoking and heroin and cocaine), relief from
nausea, and high blood pressure.