Auriculotherapy is the stimulation of the auricle of the external ear for the diagnosis and treatment of health conditions elsewhere in the body. It is also known as ear acupuncture or auricular acupuncture when the stimulation is achieved by the insertion of acupuncture needles, whereas the term auriculotherapy often refers to electrical stimulation of the surface of ear reflex points. Specific points on the ear can be stimulated by manual pressure, which is also referred to as “auricular acupressure” or “ear reflexology”. Along with manual pressure, points can also be stimulated with lasers, magnets, and ear pellets.
Due to the considerable overlap, auriculotherapy 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. According to the philosophy of Taoism, there are six Yang meridians and six Yin meridians. In classical acupuncture, it is the Yang meridians that directly connect to the external ear. These energy lines of force are blocked or congested when there is some pathology in a specific area of the body. Insertion of acupuncture needles into specific acupoints can relieve both the symptoms and the underlying pathology of a particular health problem.
Some of the meridian energy lines of force connect to the external ear, thus creating the field of auricular acupuncture. Different perspectives of auriculotherapy focus not on the acupuncture meridians but on the use of the ear as a localized reflex system connected to the central nervous system.