The Auricular Microsystem

All Acupuncture systems began in ancient China. The first written text was the Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine. This text was written around 500 BC. From approximately 500 BC to 100 AD ancient physicians like Galen and Hippocrates used this method. Hippocrates was “known as the father of modern medicine.” In ancient Greek times ear rings and other forms of external stimulation was used to treat conditions such as sexual and menstrual disorders. In approximately 200 AD ancient Persian records cite medical treatment of Sciatica by cauterizing the external ear with a hot iron. In modern France circa 1957 Dr. Paul Nogier a medical physician documented scars on the external ears of patients who were successfully treated for conditions involving the Sciatic Nerve. The Sciatic Nerve is the longest nerve in the body. Its origin is the 5 spinal nerve roots from L-4 to S-3. Sciatica is a constellation of symptoms including pain caused by compression or irritation of one of the spinal nerve roots originating from L-4 to S-3. The common symptoms presenting with Sciatica are as follows: Low back pain, Buttock pain and numbness, pain or weakness in the various parts of the leg or foot, Pins and needles sensation, or tingling in the leg. The most common causes of Sciatica are as follows: Spinal Disc Herniation, Spinal Stenosis, Piriformis Syndrome, Pregnancy, Trauma to the spine i.e.… car accidents, falls or sports injuries. In rare cases Sciatica can be caused by spinal a spinal tumor compressing a nerve. Dr. Nogier’s work was based on a somatotopic map of the ear that presented the concept of an inverted fetus for anatomical location of the ear Acupuncture points. This work was published by the German Acupuncture Society in 1957. In 1958 after news of Nogier’s work spread to China a massive study of 2,000 clinical patients and conditions performed by the “Nanking Army Ear Acupuncture Research Team” verified the concept of the inverted fetus in the ear. The Research Acupuncturists recorded the ear points that were associated with the medical conditions and the ear points which lead to the reduction of the symptoms. In 1980 the work of Terry Oleson at UCLA verified a 75% level of accuracy in diagnosing the correct ear point location associated with the musculoskeletal problems of 40 patients. The criteria used to detect these points were increased point tenderness and increased electrical conductance measured with a type of Ohm meter. This criterion accurately correlated with areas of the body where some pain or pathology of the body could be correlated. Olsen’s work lead to future work which resulted in the use of Auricular Acupuncture in the detoxing of addicts from narcotics, alcohol, and nicotine. In 1990 considering this research the World Health Organization standardized the terminology and point location used for the Acupuncture map of the ear, so clinicians could communicate and teach the Auricular system more effectively. Due to establishment of the new nomenclature of the World Health Organization in 1990 the Chinese government authorized a committee to standardize the name and location of auricular points. This committee defined the localization of 91 auricular points in total.

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