• To explore 15 of the most common modalities used in auricular medicine
• To gain an understanding of which side of the ear to treat
• To understand the expected therapeutic results of treatment
Auricular acupuncture may be chosen either as a primary treatment method or as a complementary adjunct to address a patient’s illness. Whether for the management of an acute emergency, for treatment of initial symptoms or chronic problems, or for preventative treatment, there is a wide range of modalities that an acupuncturist can use. Although some of these modalities are similar in nature (such as seeds, tacks, and pellets), each has some unique feature. As a practitioner, you have the option of selecting a modality from a number of criteria, such as those modalities that have the highest degree of clinical efficacy for the condition to be treated, the modality that best meets the lifestyle and compliance level of the patient, as well as modalities that satisfy your comfort level or preference as a practitioner. Ear modalities include:
• Palpation and massage
• Ear seeds and herbal plasters
• Intradermal needles
• Plum blossom needling
Certain ear points and particular ear acupuncture modalities are clinically correlated with some specific medical conditions. Where relevant, such conditions are discussed in relation to the modalities so as to convey to the reader the most precise use of those points and treatment options.
Keep in mind that regardless of the modality selected, strict asepsis of the ear must be maintained to prevent infection from developing. Use a hair clip to secure the patient’s hair away from the ear so that it does not contaminate the auricle during treatment or become attached to the sticky tapes of the pellets, magnets, and seeds. Remove ear jewelry, piercings, or hearing aids for massage, diagnosis, or other modalities as needed. Table 6.1 summarizes the use of the ear modalities (numbered 1 to 15) discussed in this chapter.
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