A lot have been discussed about acupuncture and the amazing scientifically proven health benefits this ancient practice has provided countless number of people throughout the centuries.
This article will specifically focus on the potential positive effects of auricular acupuncture, which is acupuncture on the auricle or outer ear.
As with most CAM (Complementary and Alternative Medicine) therapies, practitioners of auricular acupuncture may overstate what the therapy can achieve. Those who endorse it assert that it can balance mood problems such as depression and anxiety, improve digestion, relieve allergies, and alleviate chronic pain. These assertions have actually been scientifically proven and replicated.
Some of the assertions that auricular acupuncture can treat everything from weak eyesight to obesity to smoking cessation to diabetes are what result in outright disbelief and confusion on the part of the patients and medical community.
Let’s get straight to the point and see how this natural healing modality technique is truly effective as many claim it is.
What is Auricular Acupuncture?
Over the last 60 years, auricular acupuncture has shown itself to be a distinct offshoot of acupuncture. Acupuncture therapy has been used by practitioners for millennia and holds an important place in other ancient civilizations as well as in TCM or Traditional Chinese Medicine.
However, the medical community has only taken acupuncture seriously in the past few years. Its capacity to assuage pain by the stimulation of pressure points is well proven and its efficacy in reducing the painful side effects of conventional cancer treatments is also proven scientifically.
You know the perception of acupuncture has shifted when the American Cancer Society mentions a complementary or alternative treatment in a good light. Nowadays, several cancer therapy centers provide acupuncture treatments to effectively ease nausea, pain, fatigue, and other side effects related to radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
At the Chapel Hill branch of the University of North Carolina, researchers describe an auricular acupuncture procedure in their research, “[Auricular acupuncture] depends on a series of anatomical maps superimposed onto the outer ear. Activating an acupoint on the map is believed to influence the gross anatomical organ related to that acupoint.”
Works for Pain
The greatest and most popular benefit of auricular acupuncture is perhaps in the treatment of both chronic and acute pain. Researchers at the UNC-Chapel Hill reviewed 17 studies that were aimed at the relief of pain caused by auricular acupuncture.
They found that the Alternative healing modality was effective in reducing pain intensity, chronic, and acute pain, which led to a decreased use of painkillers (prescription and over-the-counter).
In conclusion, the researchers stated, “More Americans are affected by pain more than cancer, heart disease, and diabetes combined, and is responsible for over 10 percent of prescription drug sales and 20 percent of doctor’s visits. Auricular acupuncture may work in the treatment of different kinds of pain, especially, postsurgical pain.”
When we take into account the growing dependence of people on medications for chronic pain – to the degree that more and more people are succumbing to really bad cases of opiate addiction – auricular acupuncture is there to provide a safe, non-drug alternative that has zero adverse side effects.
Like most CAM modalities, quality clinical trials are required to bring such procedures into the mainstream medicine. However, for those suffering from chronic pain, relief could be immediately provided by going to a reputable practitioner of ancient remedies.
Auricular acupuncture’s most famous benefit is the treatment of both chronic and acute pain.
The Placebo Effect
Auricular acupuncture, acupressure, and acupuncture in Austin all target specific acupuncture points within the body. Although all three modalities claimed to have several health benefits, some have shown to be the work of the placebo effect.
A placebo effect is an effect that relates to mind-over-matter where the mind is extremely confident that the treatment the person is given will surely work so much so that it convinces the physical body that the treatment actually works.
The body-mind connection is interesting stuff and it’s believed to have confused scientists working to prove the potency of a pharmaceutical product. In some ways, my opinion is that this phenomenon is more often than not ignored as a bona fide form of treatment.
A human study published in 2013 in the Journal of the American Board of Family is a perfect example of this. The aim of the study was to validate the efficacy of auricular acupuncture on smoking cessation. The researchers’ conclusions were as follows:
“Auricular acupuncture seemed to be devoid of significant side effects and was found to be safe. However, no difference was seen in the percentage of smoking cessation between subjects who were treated with sham auricular acupuncture and those who were given real auricular acupuncture. After six weeks, the group treated with real auricular acupuncture group reported a rate of 20.9 percent abstinence while the placebo group reported a 17.9 percent rate.”
In short, the patients who either received “fake” auricular acupuncture and real auricular acupuncture for five weeks once a week showed an aggregate total of 38.8 percent (48/125 of the subjects in the study) of people who no longer smoked at the end of the trial.
Auricular acupuncture in this instance proved extremely effective but worked anyway for about 40 percent of those former smokers because their brains were 100 percent sure it would work.
The placebo effect is truly amazing because we know we can mentally convince ourselves of things if we concentrate on it hard enough.
Another example of the placebo effect is the effect meditation has on headaches. The basic act of meditation slows down the body just enough to alleviate pressure in the head. This eases the sufferer’s anxiety at that moment, which helps alleviate the pain.
The human mind is really a powerful organ.
Safe for people of all ages, auricular acupuncture has no side effects. You can go online to search for a qualified and reputable practitioner near your area.
Consider searching for a practitioner near you if you’ve been suffering from chronic pain for a long time.
Whether at home, or in the office, you can receive the benefits of auricular acupuncture every day. It is simple to attain, easy to test, and works in ways similar to acupuncture.