Many of us have heard of reflexology in which all the systems of our whole body is delineated on the bottom of the hands or feet – the same goes for auriculotherapy.

In TCM or Traditional Chinese Medicine, the auricle, which is the external area of the ear, represents the organ systems and the entire body in an upside down fetus.

What Can Auriculotherapy Treat?

Auriculotherapy is the same as conventional acupuncture which can potentially treat all the systems of your body. This type of treatment is not only used for musculoskeletal conditions, but for organ system malfunctions as well as for smoking cessation, weight loss, and addictions.

Auriculotherapy treatments for smoking cessation, weight loss, and addictions are quite popular these days. In DWI cases, auriculotherapy is a mandatory treatment in California.

How does auriculotherapy work?

Auriculotherapy is a technique in which needles with or without the use of electric stimulation are inserted into specific acupuncture points on the ear. Vaccaria seeds are also used which are taped on specific acupoints on the ear.

How do I know if I need the ear seeds or needles for treatment?

Your acupuncturist in Linwood will determine what type of treatment is best suited for your needs. This is usually determined during your initial visit. You may be treated with needles combined with electrical stimulation to help lessen the level of pain or ear seeds to modify your behavior. The objective, especially in regard to treatment of addictions, is to educate the patient in the use of acupressure for self care on the acupoints most needed to ease withdrawal symptoms or calm cravings.

How long will the seeds be taped to the ears?

Vaccaria seeds are roughly the size of an auricular acupuncture point. The shell is also very hard and won’t break down with the natural oils of your body. They are usually taped on your ears for two to five showers/shampoos.

Will the seeds just fall out or will they need to be taken out?

When the seeds are ready to drop out, the tape will begin to separate slowly from the skin. One often feels this occurring when their hair gets stuck with the adhesive.

When it’s to remove the seeds, bend your body and lean your ear toward the floor, then pull them off.

Is this weight loss technique much better than ear stapling?

Definitely yes! Although licensed acupuncturists are the only practitioners qualified to perform an ear stapling procedure for weight loss, they often will choose auriculotherapy as a preferred technique. The reason ear stapling is less used is that it puts the patient at risk of developing an ear infection.

But isn’t ear stapling more effective for reducing weight because the staples don’t just fall off and the positive effects last longer than the ear seeds?

Before we answer this question we need to understand what homeostasis means.

Homeostasis is the body’s ability to preserve internal equilibrium by modifying physiological processes despite physical injury and other continuous varying external conditions.

Some acupuncturists claim that the stapling of an area of the ear representing the abdominal area will neutralize hunger cravings for a whole day, helping the patient to lose weight. Ear stapling injures the ear. Because of this injury, after a short period of time, in the body’s effort to maintain homeostasis, the suppression of the hunger craving becomes less and less effective.

Auriculotherapy, acupuncture and other weight loss techniques are not ‘magic bullets’ to help people lose weight. They will definitely provide you with certain benefits but you also need to exercise, have an understanding of potential food allergies, and exercise portion control and behavior modification to help you lose weight and to maintain your desired weight.

In TCM diagnosis, your acupuncturist will observe your tongue and palpate your pulse as a way to determine the underlying cause of your weight problem. Factors such as rapid hungering can be seen as excess stomach fire or yin stomach deficiency. The weight loss plan of treatment would involve the stimulation of acupoints to rebalance the meridians or energy channels.

The patient’s type of food cravings will tell the acupuncturist what systems are out of balance: salty, sweet, etc.