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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 4 (2007), S1, Pages 13-16
http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ecam/nem106
Original Article

Ear Acupuncture in European Traditional Medicine

Center of Natural Medicine, S. Giuseppe Hospital, Empoli, Italy

Copyright © 2007 Luigi Gori and Fabio Firenzuoli. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Auricular acupuncture is a diagnostic and treatment system based on normalizing the body's dysfunction through stimulation of definite points on the ear. Rudimentary forms of acupuncture which probably arose during the Stone Age have survived in many parts of the world right down to present day. It was used in the ancient Egypt, Rome, Greece and all the Mediterranean area. It is a microacupuncture technique similar to reflexology, and was first described in France in 1950 by Paul Nogier who is considered the Father of modern ear acupuncture. It was speculated that the technique works because groups of pluripotent cells contain information from the whole organism and create regional organization centers representing different parts of the body. Nevertheless stimulation of a reflex point in the ear seems relieve symptoms of distant pathologies. Modern research is confirming the efficacy of ear acupuncture for analgesia and anxiety related disease, while tobacco dependence and other substance abuse still need confirmation. Actually main methodological problems with auricular acupuncture are that exist too many maps with little agreement regarding point location in the ear, and that the correspondence or reflex systems does not correlated with modern knowledge of anatomy and physiology.