Auriculotherapy for Pain Relief

patient receiving auriculotherapy ear seeds for pain relief

Pain is a significant issue for many people in Australia, with 1 in 5 Australians over the age of 45 living with ongoing chronic pain. In consideration of this, effective pain relief that actually gets results and doesn’t have significant side effects is EXTREMELY important!

This is actually exactly what I want to dive into with you today: a natural treatment that I find extremely effective in treating a wide range of painful conditions and FAST. One that has virtually no side effects, can be applied quickly and can be left applied for ongoing pain relief.

That natural treatment is Auriculotherapy, also known as Ear Seed Therapy or also Ear Acupuncture.

The Impact of Pain

If you or someone that you know has been dealing with pain, then you would likely be very familiar with how debilitating pain can be. For some people, it’s stopping them from being able to perform in a physical sense-whether it is stopping them from working, participating in sports or even simple things like walking or getting up out of bed in the morning.

Whereas for other people, pain can be debilitating on a psychological and emotional level. Pain is distracting and it affects how people feel about doing things. It makes them lethargic, tired and disinterested in taking care of themselves or engaging in hobbies or relationships.

Solutions to Pain

After working with thousands of patients that have been suffering from painful conditions, I can say that there is always a way to reduce and manage pain. For some situations, that means complete pain relief and in others, the reality is that the condition isn’t curable and instead our focus becomes pain management.

Regardless of the situation, everyone that has been in pain always appreciates a reduction in pain and the impact is that they regain a part of their quality of life. This is priceless and only if you’ve been affected by ongoing pain will you really resonate with how liberating it is to be rid of pain.

For younger people with an acute injury, that could mean getting back to dancing or sporting activities sooner, for lots of working-age people with pain it means that they can get back to work and maintain their income to support their family. Whereas for other people with debilitating, chronic pain, it means that they can go a day without a migraine or having to take strong pain relief medication.

Best Practices for Pain Relief

If you’ve been dealing with pain then no doubt you’ve explored options like medications or even considered injections or some people even consult with surgeons about what can be done surgically to resolve their pain.

What I can say is that the cause of pain has a massive impact on what the best course of action is to resolve pain and the timing of intervention really matters. If pain is simply ‘put up with’, there is a much higher likelihood of the situation developing into ‘Chronic Pain’ which simply takes longer to respond to treatment because the condition additionally develops into a neurological condition where part of the pain becomes ‘nerve pain’.

In addition to this, when deciding what type of treatment to start with first, many healthcare professionals well-versed in treating pain will agree:

  1. Start with the least invasive treatment option first. More invasive treatments like surgery should be avoided simply due to the non-reversible side effects that may result. If a less invasive treatment is going to provide lasting relief or at least can be used to manage the situation, then you are almost always better off avoiding surgery.
  2. Try non-pharmaceutical approaches first. All pharmaceutical medications, whether it be Paracetamol, Ibuprofen, Opioids or injections have potential side effects that should be avoided where possible.
    What’s worse is that so many people resort to pharmaceutical approaches and self-prescribe pain relief medication and this simply isn’t the best way to deal with significant or recurrent painful conditions.
    Pharmaceutical medications are typically required to be taken in an ongoing fashion in order to achieve results because they don’t address the causative factor of pain. With this in mind, it’s easy to understand why medications cause side effects.
  3. Be Proactive! When dealing with pain, make sure that you aren’t just relieving the pain but also address the causative factors if you actually want to achieve lasting results. If you aren’t clear on what the cause of your pain is, then speak to a healthcare professional.

Auriculotherapy is an excellent example of a powerful pain relief treatment option.

The benefits are that it’s:

  1. Non-Invasive, it can be applied to absolutely anyone’s ears, with next to no side effects
  2. Non-Pharmaceutical, Auriculotherapy stimulates your body to produce it’s own pain relievers
  3. Fast-Acting and promotes a positive mental state, although Auriculotherapy doesn’t often address causes of pain, it improves mental state and may assist you in developing healthy habits to focus on resolving your pain

What is Auriculotherapy?

Auriculotherapy also known as ear acupuncture is commonly used by Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners that stimulates specific points on the ears to aid in alleviating pathological conditions throughout the entire body.

Auriculotherapy developed as a result of the work of French physician Dr Paul Nogier in the 1950s who noted that the human ear resembles an upside-down foetus and that there is distinct a relationship between specific points in the ear and parts of the brain that relate to the physical body and overall health.
Based on this observed relationship between parts of the ear and the physical body and overall health, Dr Nogier developed the inverted foetus map of the ear that can be useful for understanding which parts of the ear relate to different parts of the physical body and overall health.

Map of the human ear to show relative points to other areas of the body for Auriculotherapy treatment

When it comes to the application of Auriculotherapy, it involves the placement of either:

  • Pressure with magnets, steel ball bearings or Vaccaria seeds attached to a small adhesive tape
  • Or Stimulation with Acupuncture needles

How Does Auriculotherapy Relieve Pain?

Auriculotherapy is a treatment and diagnostic method that is used to bring the body back to it’s normal state by using stimulation of points on the ear’s surface. This method results in the improvement of illnesses and reduction of painful conditions through the effects on the nervous system.

The reason why the ear is so powerful in it’s effects on the nervous system is that the ear is innervated by what we call ‘cranial nerves’ which are nerves that have a very direct impact on the brain in comparison to the rest of the nerves from the body. The impact of this is that stimulating points on the ear related to the lower back is more direct then nerves coming from the lower back to the spinal cord to the brain.

Dr Paul Nogier hypothesized that the relationship between auricular points and their corresponding areas of the body was due to a large nerve in the nervous system called the Vagus nerve.  The Vagus nerve is one of the longest nerves in the body and runs from the brain through to the face and thorax and to the abdomen. The Vagus nerve has a branch that connects to the ear and when stimulated encourages the brain to reorganise itself around damaged areas. Studies have shown that stimulating the Vagus nerve can help stop the sensation of pain.

Put simply, Auriculotherapy stimulates your nervous system to improve healing and relieve pain which is why I and so many others are such a fan of this treatment.

patient receiving auriculotherpay for pain relief

What Types of Pain Does Auriculotherapy Treat?

Auriculotherapy can be used for a wide range of indications, and has been shown to provide significant pain relief and help with pain management without the negative side effects of pain medication.

Auriculotherapy is commonly applied for acute and chronic musculoskeletal pain along with Pregnancy-related pain (Pelvic Pain, Lower Back Pain, Abdominal Discomfort, and Joint Aches). Other types of pain that Auriculotherapy can help with are Headaches, Migraines, and Jaw Pain.


Pain can be debilitating on many levels and getting on top of pain relief is on top of everyone’s list. Auriculotherapy is a simple and safe alternative method that can be used to help with reducing or managing pain. By reducing the intensity of pain through auriculotherapy, health and quality of life can be improved.

In order to achieve the best outcomes for your health, as always, we recommend speaking to a healthcare professional. In many cases, there may be multiple issues contributing to your pain – your healthcare professional is the best person to effectively assess and advise the most appropriate course of action for your situation.

I hope that helps shed some light on the topic! If you would like to know more about how we can help, reach out to my team on (02) 4709 6727 or book an appointment online.