Auriculotherapy applies the principles of acupuncture to specific points on the ear. It is a treatment modality where needles, TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) units, lasers, magnets, or ear pellets are applied to specific points on the ear with the intention of treating a malfunctioning organ or a systemic illness. To perform needle acupuncture, auriculotherapists should be licensed health care providers.

People use this for...

Auriculotherapy has been used for addiction, adrenal disorders, analgesia, chronic pain, high blood pressure, inflammation, musculoskeletal disorders, post-operative pain management relaxation, sciatica, stress, substance abuse, and swelling.

Pregnancy: There is insufficient reliable evidence about the safety of auriculotherapy in pregnancy. Theoretically, some acupuncture points may induce a miscarriage, be cautious and ensure a qualified healthcare practitioner is administering treatment.

Lactation: There is insufficient reliable evidence about the safety of auriculotherapy in lactation; however, there's no reason to expect safety issues.


Smoking cessation. A study that tested auriculotherapy as an aid for smoking cessation found that after two months of treatment, 15 people (38.5%) had stopped completely and 24 people had reduced their smoking by more than half. Myofascial pain. Some research shows that auriculotherapy, when administered in addition to somatic acupuncture, does not further reduce pain in patients with cervical myofascial pain. More evidence is needed to rate auriculotherapy for these uses.

Natural Medicines rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.

Dosing & administration

    Adverse effects

    Interactions with pharmaceuticals

    None known.

    Interactions with herbs & supplements

    None known.

    Interactions with foods

    None known.

    Interactions with lab tests

    Interactions with diseases

    Mechanism of action

    The Chinese ear acupuncture system focuses on paths of energy, or meridians, running through the body. Auriculotherapy, as defined by Dr. Nogier, focuses on connections between the ear, the affected organ(s), and the central nervous system. Some sources also state that auriculotherapy, as defined by Dr. Nogier, does not employ needles.

    Practitioners choose the acupoints to stimulate based on a somatotopic map of the ear. This map portrays the parts of the auricle, or external ear, which theoretically correspond to different parts of the body. The most popular somatotopic map is the "inverted fetus" image, or an image of an upside-down person and their organs superimposed on the ear. However, at least four other somatotopic maps exist. Practitioners choose acupoints representing the organ which is most affected by the patients' chronic health conditions. Some practitioners believe the increased tenderness of acupoints occurs because of the accumulation of noxious substances under the skin. Theoretically, stimulation of these points may help alleviate the patient's disease or disease symptoms such as pain. has licensed professional monographs from TRC Healthcare. Full monographs are available to Pro practitioner accounts.
    This monograph was last reviewed on 21/04/2015 16:45:36 and last updated on 20/04/2015 23:43:27. Monographs are reviewed and/or updated multiple times per month and at least once per year.
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