Select personal points as soon as possible

The more each practitioner examines the auricles of his patients systematically, the more he will find new points and combinations of areas not yet described by the leading schools. He will develop specific experience in using these new points and will be able to foresee and measure their therapeutic effect, especially in the case of unique symptoms. He needs, however, to report both the points identified by auricular diagnosis and those selected for treatment systematically on the Secto-gram. Examining the patient from one session to the next in this way, the therapist will be able to understand which points are more effective and in which combination they may be treated to obtain the best results. In my opinion this approach should be open-minded and not limited by the existing ear maps.

One less recognized effect in Western countries is, for example, the antihistaminic effect of some points. There is a point on the tip of the auricle used by Nogier to counteract allergy (Fig. A1.17); the point has been reported as the ear apex point erjian and is indicated for conjunctivitis, hypertension and insomnia (Fig. A1.16). My impression, after several observations of patients with urticaria, was that this point was not isolated; indeed I discovered that the whole upper and posterior part of the helix, HX7 and HX8 for the Chinese, was often sensitized by an allergic reaction. I was rather surprised furthermore to note how this area was effective in reducing the itching of some allergic conditions such as urticaria. Why the helix points of an area belonging to the lower thoracic segments should show antihistaminic properties is hard to say. It has to be remembered that in the same area there are other points and areas which the Chinese associate with an allergic reaction, as for example Wind stream fengxi (see Table 4.12).

In the case shown in Figure 10.9A, the 30-year-old female patient came to my practice with an urticaria spreading over the thighs and abdomen, which was presumed to be caused by her intake of amoxi-cillin. The rash had been present for a few hours and itching was scored verbally by the patient as between 7 and 8 on a scale of 10. With PPT I identified seven tender points, two on the scapha and five scattered on the helix of sectors 17-21. Acupuncture

Auricular Acupuncture Images

Table 10.3


Percentage of tender 'reference points' in 52 patients with nephritis according to the Ear compiling group of Nanjing Military Headquarters52 (see Fig. 10.8).


Kidney (C010), nephritis point, endocrine (CO18)


Bladder (C09), Shen men (TF4)


Esophagus (C02)


Lumbosacral vertebrae (AH9)


Shoulder joint (SF4,5), stomach (C04)


Triple energy (C017)




0cciput (AT3)


Large intestine (C07), heart (C015), mouth (C01)


Trachea (C016), internal genitals (TF2), adrenal gland




Liver (C012), eye (L05)

20 21 22 23


\y • \ \ \ \











Fig. 10.9 Tender points in acute urticaria in a 30-year-old female patient (A); tender points tested with NCT for relieving pregnancy-related nausea in a 33-year-old female patient (B).

stimulation on these points reduced itching to 50% in the following 10 minutes.

Another example of a personal point is that for treating nausea during pregnancy. For this symptom Chinese acupuncturists use mainly the cardias area (CO3 benmen). German physicians instead use a so-called nausea point on the posterior auricular incisure.

My goal was to find out an auricular point with the same efficacy as PC6 (neiguan). As reported by a recent systematic review,56 PC6 stimulation may be beneficial for various conditions involving nausea and vomiting, even if the added value to modern antiemetics remains unclear. However, few acupuncturists expressed their opinion on the fact that the application of only one needle (two, considering the symmetrical stimulation on both sides) is really unusual in acupuncture. Experts in TCM and practitioners of westernized acupuncture both know that the same acupuncture point often treats different symptoms, or a combination of different points may treat the same syndrome. Nevertheless, starting from this evidence I tried to identify a specific point which alone could modify the intensity of nausea. I tested several areas without great results. When pregnant women ask to be treated they have often been suffering for several days or weeks and expect a full and rapid effect from treatment. Unfortunately, despite their expectations and frequent anxiety, it can take time for the patients to feel relief from nausea. Given the difficulty in modifying intense nausea after 10 seconds of needle contact, I adopted the following personal solution: having noted previously that PC6 is sensitive to pressure during nausea, on one or both sides, I tried to modify its tenderness with NCT on selected auricular points. When the most effective point in reducing the tenderness of PC6 had been identified, I inserted a needle for at least 30 minutes and measured the effect on nausea. Subsequently I took out the needle and replaced it with a semi-permanent one for the following days, inviting the patient to press the needle as many times as necessary to keep the nausea under control.

In the 33-year-old pregnant lady in Figure 10.9B I adopted this procedure and after some attempts I found a point on the root of the helix immediately below point zero which reduced her nausea after 30 minutes by 30-50%.

I am sure the effectiveness of the treatment could be increased by adding further points or personalizing the treatment on the patient. It would also be worthwhile, in a larger group, to identify predictors of response so that pregnant women could optimize ear acupuncture therapy.

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