Many patients have seen photos of ear acupuncture and are curious about it. The ear is a microcosm of the whole body, so you can actually treat the whole body just by inserting needles into the auricular area!
If you superimpose the drawing of a fetus on the ear, you will see how it corresponds to the “reflex” areas in the ear. This is similar to reflexology, a type of Westernized acupressure where you massage the feet in order to treat the whole body. In Chinese Medicine, the hands and feet are microcosms of the whole body as well. So, in theory you can treat the whole body just by inserting needles into the hands or feet. In fact, there is a whole style of acupuncture called Korean hand acupuncture that does just that.
In the style of acupuncture we use most often in the clinic, which is called the Balance Method, we use each limb as a microcosm of the body. For example, if you are having leg pain and I want to treat your arm, I will project an image of the leg onto the arm (mentally) in order to select which points to treat.
Most often in our practice we use ear acupuncture to treat addictions and pain. I often send my patients home with an ear tack in to help control their pain between treatments. I find the use of auricular acupuncture to be a bit limiting because of the small area to work with. I prefer to use the limbs, torso and scalp since they provide a larger “canvas” to practice the art of acupuncture.
However, some practitioners become very passionate about auricular acupuncture and make it a primary focus of their practice.