Auricular (Ear) Acupuncture

How to Prepare for Your Appointment

Please arrive to your appointment in loose and comfortable clothing.       

Eat a small meal no less than an hour before your treatment. You may become lightheaded on an empty stomach or conversely feel uncomfortable lying down if overly full. And stay hydrated, as always! 

Bring hard copies of any relevant medical documents with you.

Do not brush your tongue. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the tongue is an important diagnostic tool—like a portal to the state of your internal organ systems—so please do not brush your tongue the morning before your visit.

**NEW PATIENTS: If you haven’t already submitted your preliminary paperwork online, please bring a completed hard copy to your first appointment, or arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled session so you’ll have time to complete these documents in our office. Please also bring your insurance information if you plan to use insurance. 

What to Expect

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the ear is a microcosm of the human body, just like the bottom of the foot in reflexology. The entire body, internally and externally, is accessible through specific points on the ear. In a typical session you will receive shallow acupuncture at particular points on the ear, based on your pre-determined diagnosis. The process is often described as painless, though you may feel a slight pressure, pinch, or dull aching at the point of insertion. The needles are retained for about 20 minutes while you comfortably relax on the table. 

These appointments are group sessions and will normally last one hour. This designates enough time for the practitioner to do a thorough intake, examine your tongue, discern your pulse, record your vitals, and perform any other pertinent examinations. This information will serve in determining a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) diagnosis and an individually tailored treatment plan. The practitioner will then perform acupuncture on carefully selected points in your ear.

At the end of the session, your practitioner may send you home with something called "ear seeds" to continue stimulating points on the ear. Ear seeds are smooth, round seeds from the vaccaria plant that are affixed to points on your ear by a small piece of adhesive tape. The seeds are natural, organic matter. 

Ear Seeds: Care & Other Instructions

Small seeds from the vaccaria plant are placed over specific acupuncture points with a piece of adhesive to prolong stimulation of those particular points. The continuous, mild pressure can be amplified with a few seconds of fingertip massage every few hours.

Please remove the ear seeds after 3 days to give your skin a break. If persistent skin irritation or swelling occurs, remove the ear seeds and contact your practitioner. The adhesive tape contains latex and should not be used by those with a latex allergy.

Auricular Acupuncture & Addiction

Auricular acupuncture is an effective and non-chemical source of relaxation and treatment for anxiety and is an excellent adjunct therapy for substance abuse and corresponding symptoms. We administer a standard five-point (per ear) acupuncture protocol called NADA for individuals with substance abuse disorders - though an additional point or two may be added if your practitioner deems it necessary. 

The five points are:

  • the Autonomic Point, which calms the nervous system and helps with overall relaxation
  • the Shen Men, or "Spirit Gate," which reduces anxiety and nervousness
  • the Kidney Point, for calming fear and healing internal organs
  • the Liver Point, for detoxification, blood purification, and to quell aggressive tendencies
  • the Lung Point, which promotes aeration and helps release grief

We recommend at least one hour session each week. Auricular acupuncture alone is not a cure for addiction, but it is a helpful addition to treatment. So please, continue additional therapies.