Auriculotherapy for Addiction

The original work of Paul Nogier, M.D. of Lyon, France in 1956 provided the world with what is now called auriculotherapy. A common misconception is ear acupuncture. While ear acupuncture depends on the use of needles inserted among a fixed set of alleged acupuncture points, it does not involve fixed points and does not use needles. Auriculotherapy points are created by enervation of four cranial nerves and three cervical ganglia. These are not acupuncture points.

The professional uses a handheld STIM PLUS PRO (an FDA class 11 medical device) shaped like a pen to

(1) locate the auriculotherapy point,

(2) diagnose the located this point, and

(3) treat the point if measured to be abnormal.

Auriculotherapy is defined as the location and treatment of neurological points in the ear by micro-current stimulation. Each point is treated by the handheld pen-shaped device (described above) for 30 seconds. The procedure is painless. Both ears are treated five days a week for 1530 days for 10 minutes. In ear acupuncture, needles must be left in place for 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours.


Since the late 1970’s and the 1980’s numerous studies have been performed in order to evaluate acupuncture and recently auriculotherapy in the treatment of addictive behaviors. A recent MEDLINE search found over 9,780 studies dealing with the use of acupuncture (in all forms) for SUD including alcoholism, heroin addiction, stimulant abuse, binge eating and smoking behavior. The majority of data come from the most obvious application of acupuncture: the attempt to decrease the pain and other discomforts associated with opiate addiction. A number of positive studies by Wen in 1977 showed intense relief of withdrawal symptoms within 15 minutes of the beginning of the procedures. A subsequent one year follow up of the sample by Schuckit and associates revealed that 51 had been free of drugs during the interval. In 1985, Kroening and Oieson found that the combination of precipitous opiate withdrawal along with this was successful, with 86% of the patients withdrawing within five to seven days with a minimum of side effects. Currently the literature reveals a number of positive studies using acupuncture, ear acupuncture, or auriculotherapy including: smoking (He et al. 1997), alcoholism (Brewer 1995); cocaine addiction a five point approved and established protocol as defined by the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA).

5. Patient Comments include a number of very positive responses. In this regard here are a few to consider: “A change in attitude.” “Moods are less erratic.” “Feeling good from within.” “Full of energy.” “Headache is gone.” “Now actually sleeping.” “This was the quickest I kicked heroin.” “It reduces my craving for booze, and it brought back my natural energy.” “I feel less stress.” “I’m calmer.” “Before acupuncture, even though I was clean I never once stopped craving drugs. Since acupuncture, I’ve stopped the craving.”

6. Counselors of drug court had this to say: “Patients are coming in more balanced emotionally, mentally and physically.” “L has seen tremendous results with acupuncture for my patients.”

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