Printer Friendly Email a Friend PDF

Acupuncture Today – September, 2004, Vol. 05, Issue 09

Ear Acupuncture Prescriptions and Techniques, Part One

By Skya Abbate, DOM

As the first organ to develop to its full size and become fully functional approximately 18 weeks after conception, the ear is also the first sensory organ to begin working as early as the eighth week in utero.

It is an extraordinary sensory organ that not only connects us with the world and each other through the power of hearing, but also serves as a unique and complete microsystem for the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of virtually every human illness.

Physiologically, the ear is a powerful nexus of energy through which all of the 12 main meridians either directly or indirectly intersect with the potent eight extraordinary vessels. This accessible energy is encapsulated in hundreds of auricular acupuncture points that make possible the utilization of the ear as an important method of treatment by clinicians.

Auricular acupuncture is easy to learn and master, and when accurate point selection and needle technique are applied to the correct diagnosis, it yields dramatic, immediate and long-lasting results with a high rate of clinical efficacy.

Assuming the clinician knows how to correctly diagnose and differentiate an illness as well as how to precisely locate and select auricular acupuncture points for a prescription, it is interesting to see how versatile the ear acupuncture points are for numerous and unrelated medical conditions due to their multiple, broad-based energetics that are the hallmark of Oriental medicine. While a general rule of Oriental medicine is to "treat what you see" so that the unique energetic configuration of the individual is responded to, there are still what we might call "core" ear acupuncture points that the practitioner can frequently use so that the essential features of an illness are addressed. My recommendation is not that practitioners memorize any prescription, but rather that they try to discern how each point contributes to the formula. By doing so, they will test their understanding of the etiology, pathogenesis, and signs and symptoms of a disease, and thus be able to effortlessly select these points when such an illness is encountered without the need to even reference the point energetics.

Table 1. Core Acupuncture Points for the Treatment of Common Disorders�

Illnesses Points
Brain Sym-
Adrenal End-
Kidney Liver Heart Spleen Other points specified
Anxiety       Diaphragm
Carpal tunnel syndrome         Fingers, Wrist
          Gall Bladder, Stomach, Diaphragm
Chronic fatigue         Lung
Coronary artery disease          
Diarrhea           Large Intestine, Stomach, Sanjiao
Eczema       Lung
Facial paralysis         Cheek, Diaphragm, Jaw, Sanjiao, Brainstem
Fibromyalgia       Sanjiao, Diaphragm, Relax muscle
Herpes zoster             Lung, Diaphragm, Local area
Irritable bowel syndrome             Large Intestine
Menopause   Ovary
Migraines           Diaphragm, Ear apex
Multiple sclerosis        
Myopia       Eye, Eye 1, Eye 2, Stomach
Neurodermatitis (chronic lichen simplex)             Lung, local area involved
Otitis media         Inner ear, Mouth
Postpartum depression       Diaphragm
traumatic stress disorder
Rheumatoid arthritis        
Sciatica             Sciatic
mandibular joint disorders
        Jaw, meridian involved (i.e. Stomach etc.)
Tinnitus         Diaphragm
Torticollis             Cervical vertebrae, Diaphragm, Neck

Part one of this article provides the reader with a comprehensive list of clinically effective formulas for the treatment of 26 common diseases. This information is offered in an alphabetized chart form that makes it easy to access and study, as well as to visualize the multiple functions of the same points. Certainly the practitioner should not apply these points to treatment without understanding the person's medical history and the specific differentiation of illnesses, which my have several patterns. Correct location of the ear points of course are essential to the treatment, and the reader is encouraged to consult standards in the field or my latest book, Chinese Auricular Acupuncture.

Part two of the article, which will be published in the December issue, briefly summarizes the salient energetics of the core acupuncture points so that the reader can appreciate their role in the auricular prescription. Finally, in part three, treatment modality options are outlined for the practitioner.


  1. Abbate S. Chinese Auricular Acupuncture. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2004.

Click here for previous articles by Skya Abbate, DOM.

Join the conversation
Comments are encouraged, but you must follow our User Agreement
Keep it civil and stay on topic. No profanity, vulgar, racist or hateful comments or personal attacks. Anyone who chooses to exercise poor judgement will be blocked. By posting your comment, you agree to allow MPA Media the right to republish your name and comment in additional MPA Media publications without any notification or payment.

To report inappropriate ads, click here.