Ears, Pirates and Pokes

There is something that I rely heavily on as both a practitioner and as a patient to help correct a whole variety of health issues. The Ear. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) there is a whole treatment model that is commonly used and is called Auricular Acupuncture. Now, on this first day of treatment, if I feel it’s necessary I will breech the subject of doing some ear points during a treatment. Often this is cause for a lot of apprehension for patients because they don’t love the idea of needles anyways and now I want to poke them into their ears… So I often tell patients the following:

I explain that the ear is a direct connection to the brain and is often the easiest way to deal with some issues like depression, anxiety, addiction and sleep problems. As an example of how cool ear stuff is, I’ll tell patients one of my favorite stories (and who doesn’t love a good pirate story). In school, as we learned what the 200+ different points in the ear were used for, we came to the point that benefits vision.

The story goes…the pirates would sail to the Orient many many years ago for supplies and while there they would get their ears pierced where many of us commonly pierce them today, right in the center of the lobe. The reason why pirates started piercing their ears there was because it is the master point for improving vision and by putting permanent piercings in that point they were able to see further at sea thus making them even more swash-buckling and awesome pirates!

The next question is always, “Well, does that mean if I didn’t have my ears pierced then my vision would be even worse than it already is?”  Yes.  That is what that means.  Ok, no.  Not really.. but it is a cool example of how it came about that we pierce our ears where we do… and usually by the end of my story I have already finished poking their ears and they see that it really is no big deal.
So what else can Auricular Acupuncture be used for? It is effective in treating mental/emotional disturbances including anxiety, depression, and insomnia. It is also used to treat physical pain such as arthritis, back pain, migraine, headache, tendonitis, and sciatic pain. Through stimulation of corresponding points in the brain and body, auricular acupuncture is also used as a therapy to treat digestive problems such as colitis and indigestion, as well as respiratory and sinus problems like asthma, hay fever and sinusitis. The therapy may also be used to treat obesity and, pre-menstrual syndrome. However, the most common use of Auricular Acupuncture is for something called the NADA protocol which is a super-effective way to address addiction of any kind and is used all over the world.

So there you have it.  Next time you see your Acupuncturist and they offer the idea of doing some ear points… just go with it. The pirates did, and I’d say things worked out just fine for them.


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Jana Royer-Morian