Ear acupuncture

Ear acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine where small sterile needles are inserted into the external ear (pinna). I do not practice this technique but please ignore me for a moment and read on.

Ear acupuncture
Acupuncture points on the ear

Acupuncture has been an integral part of Chinese medicine for over 2500 years. It has been used to treat different medical conditions, such as pain and allergy for centuries. In Chinese medicine it is believed that energy flow (Qi in Chinese) occurs along specific pathways or meridians in the human body. Placing small acupuncture needles on specific points along these meridians help to restore abnormal energy flow, improve health and cure disease.

Interesting to note is that Ear acupuncture actually originated in Western Europe in the 1950’s. Its foundations were laid down by a French neurologist, Dr Paul Nogier who based his treatment of the ear with acupuncture needles on the work by the Canadian Neuroscientist, Wilder Penfield. Penfield discovered that a map of the body exists on the surface of the sensory part of the brain. The same map of the body is also found on the surface of the ear. Different parts of the ear represent specific parts and systems in the body and placing acupuncture needles on this points treat different parts of the body.

Ear acupuncture
Yin and Yang

Whether one beliefs in acupuncture and Chinese medicine or not is not really the point. What is important is that we as Western medicine practitioners have to agree that there is a lot about the human body that we do not know. We use words like proof, medical research and evidence based medicine but in reality we look at one side of the coin only. We dwell in the day (or perhaps the night) and do not realize that the one cannot exist without the other. This is depicted in the yin and yang, the fundamental principle of Chinese philosophy. Opposites are interlinked, interdependent and complementary. Without the one the other cannot exist.  I belief this to be true for many things in life, even if I do not always understand.