What is Auricular Acupuncture?
Auricular Acupuncture is a stimulation technique focussed on the external surface of the ear for the treatment of various health conditions in other areas of the body. Auricular Acupuncture has proven to be a popular treatment in a variety of conditions, such as allergies, pain disorders and addiction. Dr. Penfield, a Canadian neuroscientist, discovered that maps of the body exist on the sensory cortex of the brain, and that map is projected onto the ear. The ear holds all the Acupuncture points of the body. The stimulation of these points, and sometimes, some on the body, is very effective in alleviating pain and other symptoms.
Auricular Acupuncture is particularly effective in the treatment of addiction. Through the increased flow of Qi and the unblocking of meridians, Auricular Acupuncture, along with other forms of treatment, such as individual therapy, group counselling and support groups, can help those suffering from substance addiction. Other benefits that have been noted:
- Helps ease withdrawal symptoms
- Helps ease physical pain
- Helps regulate emotions
- Decreases anxiety and stress.
- Helps regulate sleep
- Helps reduce cravings
Although not fully understood how it works, it is believed that Acupuncture affects the dopaminergic system in the brain. Drugs reinforce continued use by increasing feelings of pleasure and euphoria and also reinforce drug use by suppression of withdrawal symptoms, such as dysphoria. The use of Acupuncture is believed to decrease the positive and negative reinforcements of addiction, by decreasing the amount of dopamine that is released when the drug is used. Without the surge of dopamine, the addict’s high is diminished, and they are therefore less likely to use the drug in future.