What is Auricular Acupuncture?
Auricular acupuncture, is also known as ear or battlefield acupuncture, because of five points that are used for pain. The ear is a microcosm, that represents different areas of the body and one way to map out the ear, is to view it as an upside down fetus. Auricular acupuncture points correspond to specific areas of the brain by innervating nerves in the ear. These have been confirmed in studies of patients brains under MRI, while stimulating these points.
What Is A Microcosm of the Ear?
A microcosm of the ear refers to the concept in auriculotherapy, also known as ear acupuncture, that the ear represents a miniature map of the entire body. The ear is believed to contain specific points that correspond to various organs and body parts. By stimulating these points through the application of pressure, needles, or electrical stimulation, auriculotherapy practitioners aim to treat various health conditions throughout the body.
The concept of the ear as a microcosm is rooted in traditional Chinese medicine, which views the body as an interconnected system of energy channels or meridians. According to this philosophy, the ear contains many nerve endings that connect to the brain and other parts of the body, making it an effective location for treating a wide range of health conditions.
The Five Points Used in Battlefield Acupuncture for Treatment of Pain Are:
The Cingulate Gyrus is connected to the limbic system. It is responsible for our emotional response to pain because it regulates aggressive behavior, and coordinates sensory input with emotions.
The Thalamus corresponds to the hypothalamus, which is the centre for the Autonomic Nervous System. It is used to regulate internal organs and various physiological functions of the body.
The Omega 2 is a psychosomatic point and treats acute and chronic pain, especially of the limbs.
Point Zero correlates to the vagus nerve and greatly effects the parasympathetic nervous system, and therefore many internal viscera.
Shen Men is classified as a Master point and its main function is to tranquillize the mind, alleviate pain, and is an anti- inflammatory point.
A Little History About Battlefield Acupuncture
This protocol was invented in 2001 by Richard C. Niemtzow, a US Air Force Physician. He also worked with Paul Nogier, a French Neurologist and physician. Niemtzow was in search for an effective and fast acting solution for pain management that would reduce or eliminate the use of opioids.
BFA first was implemented for veterans/soldiers who were in recovery back in the United States, however BFA is now being used on deployments as well. While on mission, it is critical to keep the soldiers working with minimal side effects and to maintain their pain. The ear is an easily accessed area of the body which makes it an easy way to provide care when patients are in uniform