The History Of Chinese Auricular Acupuncture , In Oriental medical literature, numerous Chinese texts refer to the role of the ear as an instrument for the diagnosis, prognosis, prevention, and treatment of disease. Most of these texts go back to the earliest recorded Chinese body of medical information, wherein they established the connection between the ear and all of the meridians, the Zang-fu organs, and the Kidney in particular because the ear is its external manifestation. One such reference from the oldest extant Chinese text, the Neijing (The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine, 500 to 300 B.C.) included the observation that the ear is not an isolated organ, but intimately connected with all the organs of the body, the five viscera, and the six bowels.
In the Oral inquiry chapter of the Mystical Gate, it states that the ear is the converging place of the main vessels. Because the ear is connected to every part of the body due to the ceaseless circulation of air and blood through these meridians and vessels, the ear joins with the body to form a unified inseparable whole.
Later in the Zhongcangjing (The Classic of Central Organs) from the Sung Dynasty (920 to 1279 A.D.) it was written that prognosis could be judged from inspection of the auricle.
Despite the early mention in Chinese medical literature of the connection of the ear to the rest of the body, it was not until 1957, under the careful aegis of noted French acupuncturist Paul Nogier, that a system of auricular medicine was formalized. Up to that point even the Chinese had not published a chart of ear points. In his book, the Treatise of Auriculotherapy, Nogier established the correspondences between the sensitive points in the auricle and the internal organs of the body and expounded his view that the points on the auricle were organized in the form of a homunculus very similar to an inverted fetus, with the head towards the lower lobule, the feet towards the upper rim of the ear, and the body in-between.
Terry Oleson, commenting on Nogier’s pioneer work said, “It is believed that it was through this German publication that Nogier’s inverted fetus map of the ear was ultimately translated into Chinese and formed the basis of Chinese ear charts. However, once presented with this concept, the Chinese conducted thorough and systematic investigations. Both the diagnostic accuracy and therapeutic value of the inverted fetus ear map were examined in over 2000 clinical cases by the Nanking Army Ear Acupuncture team.
They provided significant verification of the somatotopic conceptualization of the ear and discovered some additional points not noted in Nogier’s auricular charts.”
It thus was Nogier who elevated ear acupuncture in status within the field of Oriental medicine, for as ear researcher Michael Greenwood so eloquently summarizes, “In a stroke, Nogier transformed ear acupuncture from an esoteric field into a simple and powerful modality.“
Since then, various leaders in the field of Oriental medicine have created other ear charts. The chart presented by Bensky and O’Connor in Acupunc- ture, A Comprehensive Text depicts more points than the chart presented in this book. Nogier and the European schools discuss different locations of the points based on various physiological states they may assume. Oleson’s approach is more anatomical. Likewise, he uses the nervous system as the major explanation for how ear points work and the nomenclature of many of his points varies as well.
All of these sources are impeccable and can be consulted for added information about the ear. However, because I have learned another system and have practiced it exclusively with great success for 20 years, these sources are neither part of my clinical experience nor my philosophical predilection as a practitioner of Oriental medicine. Hence, in this book, I cannot reconcile their differences nor expound knowledgeably upon them for the reader.
The map that forms the basis of the location of the ear acupuncture point system presented in this book comes from the scheme of ear point location taught to me by the doctors with whom I studied at the International Training Center of the Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Beijing, China in 1988 and 1989. It is one chart, almost identical to the ear chart found in Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion, the primary textbook from China that is used in almost all acupuncture schools throughout the U.S. and beyond.
This chart has been the same since the 1980s when the first version of the book was published. Simply organized, the chart encompasses most body parts and organ systems and, as such, it can be used to treat every condition treatable through the ear with great results.
Of these points, for purposes of simplicity and the clinical frequency with which these points are chosen, I am presenting 100 points with their locations and most common clinical functions. The strength of the 100 points of the Chinese ear map that I have adopted and the energetic or physiological actions that pertain to them, is that they are easy to learn and use, and can be used to treat every condition that is relevant to the application of auricular medicine. They can be mastered easily, especially if one has strong training in the theoretical infrastructure of Oriental medicine.
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