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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2015, Article ID 495684, 13 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/495684
Review Article

The History, Mechanism, and Clinical Application of Auricular Therapy in Traditional Chinese Medicine

1Department of Chinese Medicine, China Medical University Hospital, Taichung 40447, Taiwan
2Graduate Institute of Acupuncture Science, College of Chinese Medicine, China Medical University, Taichung 40402, Taiwan
3School of Chinese Medicine, College of Chinese Medicine, China Medical University, Taichung 40402, Taiwan
4Graduate Institute of Integrated Medicine, College of Chinese Medicine, China Medical University, Taichung 40402, Taiwan

Received 6 October 2015; Accepted 6 December 2015

Academic Editor: Peijing Rong

Copyright © 2015 Pu-Wei Hou et al. 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 therapy includes acupuncture, electroacupuncture, acupressure, lasering, cauterization, moxibustion, and bloodletting in the auricle. For 2500 years, people have employed auricular therapy for treating diseases, but the methods have been limited to bloodletting and cauterization. Only after 1957, the international scientific community became aware that the map of the ear resembles an inverted fetus, its introduction has led to auricular acupuncture (AA) becoming a more systemic approach, and, following the identification and standardization of more precise points, AA has been employed in clinical applications. The mechanisms of AA are considered to have a close relationship with the autonomic nervous system, the neuroendocrine system, neuroimmunological factors, neuroinflammation, and neural reflex, as well as antioxidation. Auricular therapy has been applied, for example, for pain relief, for the treatment of epilepsy, anxiety, and obesity, and for improving sleep quality. However, the mechanisms and evidence for auricular therapy warrant further study.