I pass through the Georges-Pompidou European Hospital in the 15th arrondissement in Paris. Despite the beautiful days, I am cold. It’s full of drafts! I reach the oncology department of the day hospital on the fourth floor. A few chairs in the hallway serve as a waiting room. It is not yet ten o’clock this morning and there are already four of us.
On the advice of my oncologist
My chemotherapy is finished, but the surgery, the removal, then the breast reconstruction with a back flap were painful. The whole left side hurt, as if my flesh was shrinking. Although we know that this is normal, there comes a time when we are fed up! So, on the advice of my oncologist, I tried auriculotherapy.
I doubted this approach, but within the framework of the hospital, I had confidence. I did well ! Today is my fourth session. Dr Sophie Manuel welcomes me. The consultation begins. The room is rather pleasant, half a doctor’s office, half a living room.
Assess the pain since the last appointment
This new auricular acupuncture session begins with an interrogation: the practitioner takes stock of my pain since the last appointment.
– How are you doing ?
– It’s okay, but the pains on the scar and on the back are coming back. But I lasted longer than usual, three months!
– Last time, you were better after the session?
– Yes, and I was able to work more. I am happy to be working as a hairdresser again.
– How long have you been well?
– I was eight to nine weeks without any pain. On the other hand, since Friday, I have like a point under my scar and the left part is painful.
– How much do you estimate your pain?
– 7/10. I also feel, while walking, a pain which goes down from the kidneys to the buttock.
– You stay up too much. We’re going to watch it all. Right side, are you no longer in pain?
– Just a little on the shoulder if I sleep on my side.
– And how’s morale?
– It’s okay, but I’m worried about my daughters. The eldest has left home, the other is in terminal and is having a teenage crisis.
– Okay, let’s go.
Identify the areas to be treated using a voltmeter
I’m laying down. Dr Manuel takes out his voltmeter. I squeeze an electrode in my hand, it applies the other to my ear. I close my eyes as she searches for the points to be treated with her device. She explains to me what she does and what it corresponds to. The voltmeter identifies a physiological disturbance: it rings when a point is not in equilibrium. She marks it with a felt-tip pen and then places the acupuncture “nail”, a small 3 mm needle. She puts on her gloves. While it stings, I think about relaxing. I feel hot and tingling. It’s unpleasant, but brief.
One, two, then three nails are set. Today I will be tired. Four. Ah, the fifth hurts more. Six, seven. It pricks the right ear, then the left ear. Things are getting hot. Frowning, I bear. It’s over. The doctor is disinfecting my ears. I hide the nails with my bob cut hair. I’m starting to feel less tense.
We keep the auriculotherapy needles at the end of the session
– There, now, sit down gently, said the doctor. She explains to me on a diagram what she has just done to me. Six studs on the left ear, seven on the right. I’m a little dizzy.
I move my neck, my arms, my back. The embarrassment has disappeared. I feel better. I rate my back pain at 3.5 / 10. I get up to check my leg. I walk well. The needles are not removed at the end of the session: they fall by themselves in the days or weeks that follow.
The pain relieving effect lasts almost two months
After each auriculotherapy session, I was very tired the same day, but the next day, I was fine. As long as the acupuncture “nails” are in the ear, I can feel sagging skin and muscles.
The effect lasts for a month and a half to two months during which I take no medication. On the advice of Dr Manuel, I should note the dates of nail fall and the intensity of the symptoms. The session lasted thirty minutes.
Practical information auriculotherapy
– To find a practitioner: French Society of Auriculotherapy, 47, rue Raymond-Jaclard, 94140 Alfortville, tel. : 01 43 75 01 33.
– Price of the consultation: from 50 to 120 euros reimbursed on the basis of 22 euros and supplemented by the mutual insurance company if the doctor is approved. The consultation is fully supported in the hospital.