By: Joy Cumminger, D.Ac., R.Ac., Owner, The Joys of Health & Wellness


Auricular therapy deals with the diagnosis and treatment of diseases by the observation and use of the Auricle (ear) and has been used for thousands of years.

This medical system is an approach that treats the whole person and is most closely associated with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).  The ancient practice has received great attention in the western world and has been successfully used in Nova Scotia since 1999.

Auricular therapy is a form of alternative medicine based on the idea that the ear is a microsystem of the entire body represented on the auricle (the outer portion of the ear) and is consistent with the brain.  Through the discoveries of a Canadian neuroscientist in the 1940’s, it was found that the brain holds a discernible map of the human body.  Stimulation of a brain area can be felt by the patient in the corresponding region of the body.

Auricular therapy is the stimulation of specific points located on the external ear surface. These acupuncture points (also called acupoints for short) found in the outer ear correspond to other locations in the body.  By stimulating these points the acupuncture needle or seeds sends electrical impulse messages to the brain, which then stimulates other areas of the body.  In this way, auricular acupuncture can relieve pain in the joints and muscles, stimulate the organs and the brain itself and achieve a number of other therapeutic effects for the patient.  Therefore, ailments of the entire body are treatable by stimulation of the surface of the ear exclusively.

The points on the ear are in the form of an upside down fetus with the head being located at the lobe and the feet being located at the apex, or top of the ear.

An auricular acupuncturist (or therapist) must be familiar with roughly two hundred acupoints that exist in the outer ear.  By inspecting the conditions of the ear, a professionally trained eye can detect any health conditions and imbalances in the internal organ function.

The stimulation of these points on the ear helps to regulate the body’s internal organs, structures and functions, as well as treating the body’s own neurohormonal regulating systems, assisting the body’s natural ability to balance and heal, promotes wellbeing and prevents the development of illness.

Auricular Therapy has the function of decreasing deficiencies, strengthening senses, invigorating functions of Liver Blood and regulates function of the kidney.  In modern times, auricular therapy has been shown to stimulate the release of endorphins, the body’s own feel-good chemicals.

Through stimulation of corresponding points in the brain and body, auricular acupuncture is also used to harmonize hormonal imbalances and is used as a therapy to treat body aches, nausea, muscle cramping, mental and emotional disturbances (including stress), anxiety, depression and insomnia.  It is also used to treat physical pain such as arthritis, back pain, migraine, headache, tendonitis, sciatic pain, digestive issues such as constipation, diarrhea, irritable bowel and indigestion.  It is also known to aid in respiratory issues like asthma and sinus problems.  The therapy may also be used to treat obesity, pre-menstrual syndrome, and addiction to drugs, alcohol and cigarettes.


People also report that they sleep better, feel less depressed and more relaxed.

Ear acupuncture points may be stimulated for a longer period of time by using ear seeds or ear tacks.  Ear seeds are small seeds from the Vaccaria plant.  These seeds are held in place on the ear with a small piece of adhesive tape.  Ear seeds may be left in the ear for a few days or up to two weeks.

Depending on the treatment prodical used by the therapist, the needles or seeds can be applied in a way that can either calm a  person, or help detoxify different areas of the body such as the liver, kidneys and lungs.

In the more westernized style of auricular therapy an electric tool, called an electro acupunctoscope, is used to locate and stimulate the acupoints on the outer ear.  However, this tool is not used in traditional Auricular Medicine.

For more information on Auricular Medicine or any of the other treatments offered at The Joys of Health & Wellness contact Joy Cumminger at:
320 Main Street
Antigonish, Nova Scotia
Phone (902) 867-3434

Also visit for information on holistic nutrition.

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