Origin of auriculotherapy
Auriculotherapy, from Greek therapeia (to treat) and Latin auricula (ear), consists of treating certain diseases by stimulating specific points of the pinna of the ear.
Unlike acupuncture, auriculotherapy is not a traditional Chinese medicine practice. Its true origin is French. This therapeutic method was indeed brought to light by the work of the Lyon doctor Paul Nogier in 1951.
In 1990, the World Health Organization provided a framework for standardizing auriculotherapy with certain recommendations, particularly in the field of research.
Principle of auriculotherapy
Auriculotherapy considers that the ear is a mirror representation of the organs, hence its comparison with an inverted fetus. The lobe corresponds to the head, the conch to the viscera, the anthelix to the limbs and the crest of the anthelix to the vertebrae.
Through complex innervation, the ear points are linked directly to the central nervous system through the brainstem. There would be more than 200 points per ear pin. Stimulation of these points makes it possible to treat the part of the body to which they correspond and therefore to relieve disorders or diseases. Auriculotherapy is also particularly effective in the treatment of pain.
Why consult an auriculotherapist?
The action of auriculotherapy is recognized by the High Authority for Health (HAS) in three main types of disorders:
- pain : migraine, rheumatology, traumatology, neuralgia, chronic pain, vertebral pain, sequelae pain in oncology;
- addictology : tobacco, alcohol;
- anxio-depressive syndrome : anxiety, anxiety, sleep disturbances, depression.
In the classic form of auriculotherapy, the doctor uses basic acupuncture needles, always sterile and disposable. He then places them for a few minutes on different points of the ear.
If the auriculotherapist wishes to act longer on the area, he places semi-permanent needles (ASP), specially designed for a period of one day to three weeks and without discomfort for the patient. However, they are not recommended for people at high risk of infection.
The needle is not the only instrument used in auriculotherapy. As in acupuncture, there are other less invasive procedures:
- electrostimulation : slight electric current in the needles;
- frequency stimulation : Dr Nogier, the “father” of auriculotherapy, has developed seven frequencies corresponding to the seven ranges of the ear. These frequencies, associated or not with each other at a point in the ear, would resonate with certain biological receptors to correct an imbalance. The G frequency, for example, would act on parts of the cerebral cortex, in other words on the mind. Several devices are used for this stimulation, in particular different types of pulsed infrared frequency generators.
- ear massage : practiced using a glass stick, an instrument with a rounded and polished tip.
As for the use of a magnet and its electromagnetic field, it still remains in the field of research, as well as the projection of colored light on the points of the ear.
Contraindications to auriculotherapy
The practice of auriculotherapy is contraindicated in the following cases:
- pregnancy : after the third month, it is not recommended to prick the ear points, in particular those corresponding to the uterus or the ovaries;
- medical and surgical emergencies : auriculotherapy is not a substitute for antibiotics in the context of an infection, or a surgical intervention;
- malignant tumors : the placement of a needle at the site of a tumor is prohibited.
Auriculotherapy with needles is also not recommended in the event of hemostatic disorders (bleeding, coagulation).
The first auriculotherapy consultation is devoted to the diagnosis. The auriculotherapist proceeds in several stages:
- a detailed interrogation of the patient to know his medical history, his lifestyle, his symptoms …
- a classic clinical examination, supplemented as needed by examinations (blood tests, x-rays, etc.), to determine whether or not auriculotherapy is indicated.
The practitioner continues his investigations with a complete examination of the pinna of the ear:
- avisual inspection : malformation, existence of folds, presence of abnormalities such as plaques, warts, etc. ;
- a palpation : check the consistency of the ear, painful area or insensitive to pressure, search for a painful point in the painful area;
- electrical detection : checking the electrical resistance of the ear (resistance lower than normal in the event of pathology).
From his observations, the auriculotherapist determines the most appropriate technique and begins the treatment.
There may be pain at the sting, which varies depending on the sensitivity of the person. It is duller and less pungent than the acupuncture prick because the pinna of the ear is innervated by cranial nerves. Some patients also describe a feeling of heat in the ear.
Like acupuncture, auriculotherapy can be performed on young children. Only the instruments will have to be adapted.
In France, auriculotherapy is legally permitted for certain medical professions (doctors, doctors of dental surgery, midwives) who have received specialized education.
This is the case for holders of acupuncture capacity (formerly general acupuncture IUD), who received training in auriculotherapy as part of this course.
In addition, several schools offer in-depth training in auriculotherapy. The Lyon Medical Studies Group (Glem), founded by the doctor Paul Nogier at the origin of auriculotherapy, is a pioneer in the field. It offers twelve seminars for doctors and certain medical professions, spread over two years. At the end of the day, certification validated by a final exam.
There is no official directory of auriculotherapists. Some non-medical auriculotherapists are authorized to practice non-invasive methods (point massage for example) but not to handle needles. If a non-doctor offers an auriculotherapy session with needles, the quality and seriousness of its delivery may be in doubt. It is therefore advisable to choose an auriculotherapist graduated from one of the training courses mentioned above.
You can, for example, access the list of Glem alumni on request at [email protected] or refer to the directories of acupuncturists:
– the directory of Syndicate of French acupuncturists
– the directory of the Federation of acupuncturists for their continuing medical education.
Duration and price of an auriculotherapy session
An auriculotherapy session lasts between 30 minutes and an hour, depending on the disease and the disorders to be treated. Some cases will require two to three sessions for healing; others are long term, from a few weeks to a few years.
It is difficult to establish an average price because it often depends on the geographical area where the patient resides. Count between 40 and 120 euros per auriculotherapy session.
The health insurance reimburses the sessions performed by an approved doctor, up to 70% on the basis of a classic consultation of a general practitioner.
Books on auriculotherapy:
– “Auriculotherapy, auricular acupuncture”, Yves Rouxeville, Yunsan Meas and Jean Bossy, eds. Springer: a complete and practical book bringing together knowledge about auriculotherapy.
– “Man in the ear”, Paul Nogier and Raphaël Nogier, eds. Sauramps Medical: the knowledge of the founding father of auriculotherapy and his son gathered in a fascinating book combining anecdotes and practices.
– (Glem): clinical efficacy based on the scientific approach in auriculotherapy, association founded by Paul Nogier in 1965.
-: a site supplied by specialists, the objective of which is to provide information on research associating auriculotherapy and homeopathy.