Auriculotherapy is an east-west hybrid medical system, founded by Dr. Paul Nogier of France in the 1940s.
Auriculotherapy began with the traditional Chinese medical (TCM) use of the surface of the auricle or external ear for acupuncture or other therapeutic stimulation. Initially, the Chinese used a small number of acupoints scattered on the surface of the ear for treating a variety of maladies. Through the trade routes between Europe and China, TCM had influenced the local folk medicine of France, particularly in the use of cauterization of an acupoint specific for treatment of sciatica. Dr. Nogier noticed that a number of his patients had these cauterizations, and when questioned, explained the successful treatment of sciatica by local folk medicine healers. Curious, he began to research and explore the traditional use of ear acupuncture, eventually developing the practice into a complete therapeutic system called Auriculotherapy, or sometimes referred to as Nogier. Like TCM, auriculotherapy is generally considered complimentary or alternative medicine.
Auriculotherapy is a microsystem, meaning that the entire body is reflected on the ear, and can be treated by use of the ear exclusively. A similar microsystem is the reflexology system which utilizes the sole of the foot for treatment of any part of the body. There are literally thousands of acupoints on the surface of the auricle. These points can be treated with acupuncture, with laser therapy, or by taping a small bead or pellet on the point. Pellets can be gold, silver, titanium, surgical steel, a seed from a plant that has been soaked in medicinal herbs, or other materials.
Auriculotherapy depends upon a specific use of the radial pulse on the patient's wrist in order to obtain a high level of accuracy, both in the choice of acupoints used, and the accuracy in locating such a small point. This use of the pulse is neither the traditional Western pulse-taking technique, nor is it the traditional Chinese pulse-taking technique, but a third approach to using the pulse diagnostically.
Auriculotherapy is practiced by both TCM specialists and Western medical practitioners. The technique and the accompanying theory is very complex and can prove difficult to learn. Auriculotherapy has migrated back to China, to be simplified in its application to create the modern approach to ear acupuncture. This simplified approach is also commonly used in the treatment of drug addiction in rehab centers throughout the world. Auriculotherapy in its complex form remains a relatively obscure modality of treatment.

This article is part of NCCAM documentation in public domain...