The Uses And Scientific Proof Of Auricular Acupuncture

The aim of ear acupuncture, auricular acupuncture or auriculotherapy is the stimulation of certain acupuncture points on the auricle or outer ear for diagnosis and treatment of health problems. Innervation of the ear points is achieved by sticking a few or numerous tiny needles into acupuncture points on the ear and they are left in place for about 10 – 30 minutes. Sometimes, the acupoints are stimulated through the use of electro-acupuncture although electronic devices, magnets, and lasers may also be used for stimulation. Adhesive items such as magnetic seeds or beads are often included for longstanding applications.

Some Familiar Health Problems that Can Be Resolved With Auricular Acupuncture:

Gynecological symptoms such as

Menstrual pain
Irregular menstruation

Psychological issues such as

Panic attacks
Manic disorders
Depression anxiety

Cardiovascular Disorders such as

High blood pressure
Restless leg syndrome
Varicose veins

Neurological disorders such as

Bell’s plasy
Trigeminal nerve disorder

Musculoskeletal conditions such as

Tennis elbow
Acute injuries
Frozen shoulder
Back pain
Neck pain

Other conditions such as


Auricular Acupuncture – A History

Auricular acupuncture traces its roots back to ancient China. While most of what we know about this subject was lost due to the book burning purges of the Communists, it was believed that thousands of years ago, the ancient Chinese stimulated several acupoints on the auricle to restore health and repair the movement of chi or vital energy. According to the Nei Jing, the oldest medical document in the world, written around 450 B.C., there are several forms of ear acupuncture.

The ancient Greeks also practiced auricular acupuncture around this time. The Father of Modern Medicine, Hippocrates, was said to have brought about sterility in men by rupturing the ear’s backside. It is also believed that sciatica can be treated when one burns an acupoint on the anti-helix of the outer ear.

However, it is a French acupuncturist and doctor named Dr. Paul Nogier who is most responsible for developing the healing system of auriculotherapy. Half a century ago, mainly through trial and error, Dr. Nogier, formulated a theory proving that the shape and configuration of the outer ear roughly corresponded with that of an upside down fetus. The fetus’s head is situated on the protuberance or lobe of the ear while the curls on the inside of the auricle corresponded with the apex of the feet. He referred to this upside down map of a fetus as his “small person in the ear”. He found through intensive examinations that when a part of the body on the micro-systems of the auricle is stimulated, it had an effect on the matching part of the body. Also, he discovered that when additional points are stimulated, it relieved some of the symptoms of sciatica, diabetes, and high blood pressure. His accomplishments reaped awards in France and in the acupuncture society of Germany. His popularity made its way into China where eventually, the Chinese honored Dr. Nogier by naming him the “father of auricular acupuncture.”

it was discovered in the early 70’s that certain auricular acupuncture therapies proved effective in reducing withdrawal symptoms brought about by addiction to substances including tobacco, alcohol, cocaine, and heroin. A couple of clinics from both ends of the US (one in Haight Ashbury in San Francisco, Ca, and the other in South Bronx in New York) began using this therapy in their detoxification clinics with extreme effectiveness. They found out that inserting needles into five acupoints in the auricle produced a powerful sedating effect, reduced withdrawal symptoms, and helped relieve pain. These included the acupoints associated with the lung, liver, kidney, and sympathetic energy channels as well as the shen men point (spirit gate point). They were named the “five-point treatment protocol.” In 1985, the NADA or National Acupuncture Detoxification Association was founded in 1985 to train health professionals in the NADA auriculotherapy protocol. This protocol serves as one of the most potent treatment in the curing of substance abuse.

The United Nations through the World Health Organization in 1989 proclaimed auricular acupuncture to be a legitimate form of medical treatment. Modern clinical trials and studies also have proved the worth of this therapy as a way to address a wide range of disorders and diseases.

Some time ago, researchers at the UCLA School of Medicine led by Terry Olesen, Ph.D have demonstrated the certainty of auricular diagnosis. The doctor pursues his findings by using auricular acupuncture integrating both Western and Chinese practices into his treatment. He is an authority on auricular acupuncture today and has published a manual of the therapy in 1996.

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The Spiritual And Physical Exercises Of Falun Dafa

With movements seen in qigong and t’ai chi exercises, Falun Gong is an exercise form that’s closely related to Falun Dafa, a recent spiritual movement that originated in the 1990s in China. According to the Falun Gong organization, Falun Dafa has a myriad of adherents globally.

In 1999, the Communist government of China has banned the practice and labeled the movement as subversive and “evil”. Followers of Falun Dafa have had to endure persecution and reports have surfaced, which the government repeatedly and vehemently denies, that officials have nabbed Falun Dafa practitioners and have harvested their organs and put thousands of its followers to death. Since then, assistance for practitioners in the West has made Falun Dafa wildly popular.

Westerners practice Falun Dafa on the National Mall in Washington and in school campuses and parks in some of the major cities in the US. However, they don’t realize that this Falun Dafa is actually derived from an unusual creed and that many t’ai chi and qigong masters have denigrated this exercise as mere fantasy.

While based on the millennia-old exercises of t’ai chi and qigong, Falun Dafa was actually only recently invented twenty years ago in 1992 by Li Hongshi. And while t’ai chi beefs up the body, it is claimed that Falun Dafa reinforces the spirit for redemption by channeling energy from various dimensions in the universe.

Falun Dafa is based on the premise that by performing simple stretching workouts, a person can foster a knowledgeable golden-colored individual known as the falun that dwells in the gut of a person within an alternate dimension and rotates constantly, imbibing energy from far flung areas of parallel universes making the body invulnerable to disease.

Residing in New York, the elusive Li Hongshi, claims that David Copperfield (yes, that high profile magician) has a whole lot of falun in him that gives him the ability to perform magic and penetrate walls. In Li’s book “Falun Gong” he states:

“David Copperfield, an American magician who has supernormal powers once walked through China’s Great Wall. He cover himself with a white cloth when he was about to go through the Wall, and then went ahead going through it. He did this because it would make people believe they were watching a magical show. The feat should be done this way since he believed there are lots of Chinese people with superhuman abilities. He covered himself before going through the wall because he was worried that there might be interference from these people.”

According to Li, a person with a spinning and well functioning falun can beat all types of disease, tolerate all kinds of infirmities, and live for hundreds of years.

What about the exercises?

There is a significant difference between Falun Dafa and tai chi and qigong. With Tai chi, all movements are precise and deliberate and are designed to optimize the circulation of vital energy which in Chinese is called chi. With qigong, movements are methodic and slow which essentially is the central basis of qigong. Practitioners of Falun Dafa are not too particular about precision. To promote chi, the stretching of falun is not intended to be strenuous; but instead encourages universal energy, with the falun spinning in a clockwise direction.

There is one meditative sitting pose and four standing postures in Falun Gong. The meditative pose is known as the “Path of Reinforcing Supernormal Power,” and is the same as qigong meditative exercises which have been deemed to reduce blood pressure. In The four standing postures the upper body is stretched and the same was as qigong postures that have been proven to increase circulation. The “Piercing the Two Cosmic Boundaries” falun Dafa exercise, for instance, can be a bit refreshing. In this exercise, the arms of a person move up and down slowly like pistons.

The exercise known as “Buddha Revealing the Thousand Hands” mainly evokes t’ai chi exercises that stretch both arms from one side to another. The ” Standing Falun posture” exercise builds up power in the shoulders and arms. The person’s arms remain stationary for a number of minutes in an arc shaped position over the head. And then there is the “Celestial Falun Circulation” exercise which entails running the person’s hands under and over the whole body some inches above the ground.

One factor segregating Falun Dafa from t’ai chi and qigong is Hsinghsing, which is a law of morality that should be practiced lest the exercises become null and void.

Falun Gong Scientific Validation

With regard to the health benefits of Falun Gong, no high-caliber have been published, other than articles extolling its popularity. The Cultural Diversity Journal in 2003 published a commentary warning about the choice of hard core adherents of Falun Dafa to not take medications, since medications prove disbelief in the healing ability of the falun.

Researchers at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and the Southwestern University Medical Center in Dallas Texas in 2005, features a study in the JACAM (Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine) regarding six practitioners of Falun Dafa (which they erroneously labeled as “ancient qigong”). The practitioners exhibited slight increases in metabolic rates and immunity. There was zero follow-up research after this.

Anyone can see that going outdoors to do soothing workouts with kindred spirits would generate mental and physical health benefits. However, we no one should assume that the watered-down version of Falun Dafa exercises are helpful alternatives to the seasoned activities of tai chi, which have been recorded to provide various health benefits, which include symptomatic treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, fibromyalgia, stroke, mental health, general cardiovascular health, blood pressure, stamina, flexibility, and balance.

Amy-SuiQun Lui, L.Ac.
Asian Health Center
27059 Grand Army of the Republic Hwy
Cleveland, OH 44143
Tel: (440) 833-0983