Auricular therapy, or ear acupuncture is based on the idea that the ear is a microsystem which reflects the entire body, represented on the auricle, the outer portion of the ear. Conditions affecting the physical, mental or emotional health of the patient are assumed to be treatable by stimulation of the surface of the ear exclusively. Stimulation of the auricle of the external ear, achieved by the insertion of acupuncture needles, is also used for the diagnosis and treatment of health conditions elsewhere in the body. Specific points on the ear can be stimulated by manual pressure, which is also referred to as “auricular acupressure”. Along with manual pressure, points can also be stimulated with lasers, magnets, and ear pellets.
Auricular therapy is typically considered a form of acupuncture, but there are also critical differences between the two procedures. Acupuncture is a form of medical treatment involving the stimulation of acupuncture points located on energy channels extending over the surface of the body, which are known as meridians. Some of the meridian energy lines of force connect to the external ear, thus creating the field of auricular acupuncture. Different perspectives of auricular therapy focus not on the acupuncture meridians but on the use of the ear as a localized reflex system connected to the central nervous system.