Just a little prick?
Kate Moss is said to be using it to combat cocaine addiction, Cherie Blair turns to it to relieve stress. But does it really work?
It may be the latest celebrity fad but auricular acupuncture has, in fact, been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine, and is hugely helpful in treating all manner of problems, from addictions to insomnia, joint pain and fertility.
There are as many as 200 acupuncture points on the outer ear, each point named generally after areas of our anatomy – liver, heart, mouth and so on. The outer ear acts like a switchboard to the brain and each point triggers electrical impulses, from the ear, via the brain, to the area of the body being treated. After a lengthy consultation to build up a comprehensive picture of their general health, lifestyle and associated problems, patients are treated with needles – up to ten per ear – which are left in for between ten and 45 minutes. They can then be left with ‘ear seeds’ (as seen in pictures of Kate Moss and Cherie Blair), to stimulate the acupressure points and allow them to enjoy the effects of acupuncture after they leave the clinic. The seeds can be anything hard, from mustard seeds to gold-plated press studs or coiled pins, held against the ear with surgical tape.
Many conventional medical professionals may be nonplussed by this type of acupuncture, dismissing it as merely mind over matter. But what happened when I tried it out?
After talking to me about my symptoms which included wanting to stop smoking and the horrendous hot flushes experienced by the majority of women of a certain age, Geraldine from Midas Touch in Linlithgow (www.midastouchmassage.co.uk) asked to see my tongue and also felt my pulse. I then lay down and she inserted seven needles in each ear. I must admit I was dreading it but was amazed when it hardly hurt at all. All I could feel was a slight sting as the needles went in. Obviously, I couldn’t see what she was doing, but she explained that she was targeting something called the ‘shenmen’ or heart point of my ear, which supposedly calms the mind.
The needles were left in for 20 minutes and Geraldine talked me through what she was doing and approached a couple of times to twiddle them.
Then she took them out and said, to feel long-term benefit, I’d have to come back several times over the next few months.
I have now had several sessions and am delighted to say I am now a convert!!! I have not smoked a cigarette since 29th March 2011 and my hot flushes are much more manageable and less debilitating. If you are fed up with taking conventional medicine and want to give this a try, please let me know and I’ll put you directly in touch with Geraldine!