All About Auriculotherapy



Chinese Medicine demonstrates that the ear is an extraordinarily powerful nexus of energy through which the entire body can be treated because all of the organs and body parts are represented within its concentric folds.” (Abbate, 2004).

Auriculotherapy is a form of alternative medicine where acupuncture or acupressure is applied directly to the exterior part of the ear. It involves high precision to stimulate the ear’s surface to treat other conditions of the body. It has been practiced for many generations in varying cultures to help people heal various pain conditions. Recent studies are demonstrating other traditional uses of Auriculotherapy are just as applicable, such as mental or emotional issues, insomnia, weight management, and even internal disorders. It often succeeds where other treatments have failed, while simultaneously leaving no side effects.



In Traditional Chinese Medicine literature, the connection of the ear to the rest of the body is commonly mentioned. The ear is considered a complete microsystem that can help treat the entire body. This is done by stimulating specific, strategic points of the skin on the external surface of the ear to restore the balance between Qi and blood. However, it wasn’t until 1957 that an official system of auricular medicine was documented and formalized by French neurologist and physician, Dr. Paul Nogier.

Back in 1951, Dr. Nogier had quickly become fascinated by strange scars found on some of his patients’ external ears. He discovered that these scars were mostly caused by cauterization to help treat sciatica pain. His patients claimed to be successfully relieved of their pain shortly after the cauterization treatment. From there, his fascination grew and research commenced to establish links between sensitive points on the ear and internal organs. In the end, his observations uncovered the points on the auricle (outer ear) were organized very similarly to an inverted fetus as it would be resting in the womb: head towards the lobe, feet towards the upper rim of the ear, and body in the middle.

It’s believed that this documented research was then brought back to China, where they then found additional points on the ear. In a matter of a few years, Dr. Nogier had effortlessly redefined ear acupuncture from an esoteric concept into a simple yet powerful modality. Dr Nogier’s work has been continued and currently Dr Britmatter has established effective “ear point protocols” for modern day health concerns that can be duplicated by trained auriculo-therapists. 

What do I expect to happen in my session?

How does it work?

From a Western medical standpoint, the nervous innervations of the ear are the leading explanation as to why and how this treatment is effective. These innervations have connections all over the body, internally and externally. Stimulating the ear on these points, therefore, stimulates the vagus nerves (the main nerves of your parasympathetic nervous system). The vagus nerve is considered the longest cranial nerve, running from the brain through the face and thorax to the abdomen. 

Similar to the extensive system of nerves in the ear, it is also richly supplied with blood vessels. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, your health depends on the balance and flow of qi and blood in your body. It should be noted that qi is considered the driving force that propels blood through the vessels. Therefore, when an acupressure point is stimulated and blood is increased in that area, the qi is simultaneously increased in that area as well. This helps to resolve any qi stagnation and/or blockages, which then aids in improving and preventing a variety of health conditions.


What to expect?

Auriculotherapy is very non-invasive and completely natural. It’s a widely accessible therapy used today by many types of healthcare practitioners, including acupuncturists, physicians, naturopaths, chiropractors, clinical herbalists and therapists in North America. However, in Europe, the legal and regulatory use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (which includes auriculotherapy) is rather strict and limited. 

Typically, auriculotherapy can be performed successfully on its own. However, it can also be enhanced with additional complementary therapies, such as cupping, deep tissue manipulation, herbal therapies and hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Ear seeds are typically placed along highly specific points to stimulate the body to heal itself. They come in the form of actual seeds called vaccaria seeds, or made out of metals like gold or silver, or crystals, and are attached to a small piece of adhesive material.



Frequently Asked Questions

Do ear seeds hurt to lay on? What exactly does it feel like?

Ear seeds should not cause significant pain, at best a mild discomfort. You may feel some tenderness or warmth in the area.

If you experience significant pain or any adverse effects, such as irritation or burning, remove them immediately and seek professional advice.

What do I do once they’re on?

We suggest gently massaging the seeds a couple of times per day in order to stimulate the pressure points. They usually fall off on their own after about three to five days. It’s not recommended to leave them on for more than five days, even if they’re still in place.

Can I still shower with the ear seeds in?

Yes, you can still swim and shower per usual. Just make sure to pat the seeds dry.

Can my ear get infected? If so, what do I do?

Because ear seeds are noninvasive and don’t require needs, there is a much lower risk of infections or bleeding compared to acupuncture. However if it does become infected, we recommend gently cleaning the area with a q-tip soaked in hydrogen peroxide.

What does it mean when acupressure points hurt?

Ear seeds should not cause significant pain, at best a mild discomfort. Sensitivity to certain points is generally considered a positive sign that you have applied it to a point that corresponds to an area of the body that needs attention.

If you experience significant pain or any adverse effects, such as irritation or burning, remove them immediately and seek professional advice.

How frequently do I need treatment until I see results?

As with any therapy, regular use is recommended for the best results. It’s typically recommended to have more frequent treatments when first starting this modality, but it typically varies from case to case. For more substantial health issues, we would start off weekly for about 8-12 weeks, then move to twice a month. Over time, we can eventually elongate the sessions to only once a month.


Water's Edge Wellness, intake formAre you interested in more information on how Auriculotherapy can be beneficial to you?
Contact us HERE at Waters Edge Wellness to find out more. 



Online Resources:

The History of Ear Acupuncture and Ear Cartography: Why Precise Mapping of Auricular Points Is Important | The History, Mechanism, and Clinical Application of Auricular Therapy in Traditional Chinese Medicine | Healing with Ear Acupuncture | Evidence for the Ear. Current Research Studies show the Power and Versatility of Auriculotherapy | Vagus Nerve | Legal status and regulation of
CAM in Europe | Theory of Blood, Body Fluids and Qi | Ear Seeds: How This Acupressure Therapy May Enhance Your Overall Wellness | Ear Seeds: What to Know | What Are Ear Seeds, and How Do They Work?

Book Resources:

Abbate, Skya. “Chinese Auricular Acupuncture”. 2004