Auriculotherapy: does it work? See how it is done and possible benefits

Alternative therapies such as acupuncture have been increasingly sought after to solve problems related to the body, since they tend to be less invasive and generally present a series of complementary health benefits.

Within acupuncture, there are different specialties and, among them, Auriculotherapy, considered by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a microsystem therapy, that is, that uses a specific part of the body to interfere with other organs.

Want to know more about how the technique works? Continue reading the text!


What is auriculotherapy?

Auriculotherapy is a natural therapy used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, which aims to relieve body discomfort, whether physical or emotional, through the application of stimuli in the ear.

This medicine believes that the ear is composed of several points, and each of them represents an organ or region of the body. Thus, by stimulating them, reactions are generated in the corresponding organs or systems, acting in the physical, mental and emotional environment of the patient.

For example, by working on points related to the stomach, it is possible to treat some gastric disorders.

Stimuli are usually done by applying microneedles or seeds to the ear, secured by a tape, or by applying a low-intensity laser.

It is worth mentioning that auriculotherapy is a complementary therapy, that is, it should not replace any type of medical treatment, but should be used as a complement to traditional therapeutic resources.

Chinese and French auriculotherapy: what are the differences?

There are two lines of auriculotherapy, known as Chinese and French. Although they have some proximity, there are also many differences, such as the type of diagnosis.

French auriculotherapy is closer to the concepts of Western medicine, while Chinese is based on traditional Chinese medicine.

The mechanism of action of the French line is based on physiological responses, considering endocrine neurological aspects. Meanwhile, Chinese auriculotherapy has a broad base in spirituality and energetic responses.

Mechanism of action: how can auriculotherapy have effects?

Some studies on auriculotherapy indicate that there may, in fact, be physiological responses to the application of needles or pressure on the auricular points. In general, they indicate that the great difficulty in explaining the mechanisms of action in the organism is that more than just biological and physiological aspects must be considered.

For this, it is also necessary to consider anatomy as a whole, histology, neuroanatomy.

Together, these areas can help demonstrate that auriculotherapy stimulates the auricular branch of the vagus nerve, which can affect parasympathetic functioning.

Thus, an action-reaction is generated between the skin surface and the automaton system, which could lead to an understanding of the mechanisms of action – as soon as the skin stimulus can then lead to positive manifestations in Organs internal organs.

What is auriculotherapy indicated for?

Auriculotherapy is indicated to help in the relief of body discomfort, pain, stress or even to assist in the treatment of pathologies. It serves for pains in general, such as lower back, knee and spine pain. It also helps to eliminate symptoms of problems related to the gastrointestinal system and assists in the treatment of anxiety , depression and also stress.

Specifically, among the various cases in which auriculotherapy is indicated are:


Anxiety is a natural condition of the body, however, in some cases it can become harmful, progressing to an anxiety disorder and causing both emotional and physical symptoms, such as fear, tension, shortness of breath and sleep disturbances.

In both cases auriculotherapy can help, identifying points related to the problem.


Depression is a disease that causes some symptoms such as deep sadness , loss of interest in activities that the person previously considered pleasurable, fatigue , changes in sleep and weight loss or gain.

As in the case of anxiety, auriculotherapy can help as a complementary treatment to traditional therapeutic resources.


The search for auriculotherapy in order to lose weight is common and, in fact, therapy can assist in the weight loss process. However, it is worth mentioning that just performing the procedure does not cause weight loss.

There is no specific point that causes a person to lose weight. What happens is that there is a possibility to stimulate and balance points that hinder the process, such as anxiety, for example, which can cause people to eat impulsively.

With the stimulus, the problem is alleviated and the person is usually able to inhibit food intake on impulse. This can help in the weight loss process.


Migraine is a chronic problem whose main symptoms are severe headache , intolerance to light and noise, dizziness and blurred vision.

In general, the condition is usually manifested in the form of crises, which can last from a few hours to days.

Body pain

Various body aches and pains can be resolved with auriculotherapy. As each part of the body has a specific point in the ear, when performing a stimulus, it is possible to relieve pain points.

Rhinitis and Sinusitis

rhinitis and sinusitis are two common problems that affect many people, causing similar symptoms, such as runny nose, constant sneezing, itchy nose and intensified secretion in the eyes.

In general, rhinitis is inflammation of the nasal mucosa and can be caused by a viral infection or allergic response.

Sinusitis, on the other hand, is inflammation of the mucous membranes of the paranasal sinuses, that is, mucous membranes of the face. In addition to the symptoms already described, it causes pressure in the eye region and a feeling of heavy head.

It is worth mentioning that auriculotherapy can relieve the symptoms caused by the conditions, however, it will not necessarily cure the problems.


The allergy is usually an overreaction of the immune system to something. There are different types of the condition, which can cause different symptoms.

In auriculotherapy, it is considered that there is a specific point in the ear for allergies. With its stimulation, it is possible to alleviate and even eliminate the symptoms of the reaction.

Benefits: why do auriculotherapy?

Auriculotherapy can provide several benefits for those who perform the procedure, improving the patient’s quality of life. Among the main ones are:

  • Relieves pain;
  • Reduces stress;
  • Fights insomnia;
  • Alleviates allergies;
  • Helps to balance the emotional;
  • Decreases anxiety;
  • Helps in weight loss;
  • Helps to combat addictions such as smoking;
  • Relieves gastrointestinal disorders.

For people who are undergoing medical treatments, auriculotherapy can be a great ally, intensifying the results obtained.

What are the points of auriculotherapy?

Traditional Chinese medicine considers the ear as a microsystem that represents the entire anatomy of the body, seeing it as a fetus turned upside down – the lobe representing the head and the shell the lungs, for example.

In this way, the points can be found through this visualization. There are more than 100 points in both ears, located in the inner and outer region. Specifically, you can find them in the image below:

The choice of the points that will be used varies according to the objective of each patient and is made by the responsible therapist.

How is the auriculotherapy treatment done?

Auriculotherapy treatment consists of stimulating specific points of the ear with the application of seeds, needles or spheres in the region.

For this, there are some steps that take place within a session. Specifically, they are:


The first stage of the auriculotherapy session is anamnesis, which consists of a quick conversation with the therapist, in which the person will indicate his / her discomfort and reasons for carrying out the treatment.

In general, it is at that moment that the professional understands what are the points that should be stimulated in each person later.

Auditory pavilion analysis and asepsis

Soon after, the analysis of the auditory pavilion is made, that is, of the whole ear. In general, at this stage, the professional analyzes the anatomy of each patient and initiates asepsis of the site.

Asepsis is usually done with cotton and 70% alcohol, cleaning the entire region to receive the application of seeds, needles or crystals, depending on each person.

Location of points

The next step is the location of the points. Taking into account the patient’s report in the anamnesis and the analysis made, the professional seeks to find the points that will be stimulated.

The points chosen vary according to each person, since to relieve headaches the stimulation must be done in a certain point of the ear, while for the relief of back pain in another, for example.


After the points are located, the therapist starts the application, which can usually be done with intradermal needles – placed inside the skin -, crystals, mustard seeds or magnetic spheres.

There is, in general, no better technique than the other. Each professional analyzes the option that best suits each patient.

In the case of intradermal needles , they are inserted in the chosen points, causing an almost imperceptible puncture, with only a mini tip inside the skin. Already with the seeds, crystals or magnetic spheres , they are placed on top of the region and glued with a tape or micropore, with a pressure being made with the fingers over the place.

It is common for these points to become painful after application, however, it is still recommended that the patient massage the points daily, to stimulate them.


There is no consensus on how long the patient should stay with the application on the ear or perform the change. In general, it can vary from 5 to 10 days, depending on the guidance of the responsible therapist.

The period for each type of application is usually:

  • Intradermal needles : 5 days;
  • Mustard seeds, crystals and spheres : 7 days.

In cases of continuous treatments, the sessions are usually done in that time interval, however, the person can remain for even months doing auriculotherapy until reaching the expected results.

How many auriculotherapy sessions do I need to do?

The number of sessions and their frequency vary according to the goal of each person with the therapy.

After the first session, it is usually possible to observe positive results, however, significant effects usually appear after about 5 sessions.

In general, treatment is usually 10 full sessions. Despite this, the ideal is to talk to a trained professional, who will indicate the amount needed for each person.

Who can not do auriculotherapy?

Auriculotherapy may be contraindicated in cases of pregnant women. Pregnant women in early pregnancy are recommended not to perform the procedure.

In general, it is indicated that auriculotherapy is performed only after completing 5 months of pregnancy . In addition, some specific points are generally avoided during this period, such as those related to the ovaries, abdominal region, pelvis and genitals.

Auriculotherapy works?

The Ear is a traditional practice that can bring well-being to those who performs it . Some studies indicate possible benefits, since the applications release hormones of pleasure.

There are studies that seek to understand and certify the effectiveness of the practice – but the results are still inconclusive. Although the Ministry of Health offers and recognizes auriculotherapy as a complementary therapy, it is necessary to highlight that the effectiveness of its action is still little known.

It is also important to remember that it does not replace conventional treatments or medical follow-up.

However, there are people who will feel very good about the therapy, but they can help in relieving pain, tiredness or other pathological conditions or not. In any case, it is always important to do it with professionals and in conjunction with other medical specialties – that is, do not abandon any medical treatment.

Prices and where to do it

The prices of auriculotherapy sessions may vary according to the geographic region and the professional who will perform the procedure.

Generally the therapy is done in clinics and the isolated value of a session is, on average, R $ 50.

Auriculotherapy is a practice that can be performed by almost everyone and helps to combat various body discomforts.

In the midst of several other treatments, this method has gained space for being almost painless and less invasive.

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