There are many good books on the market for auricular acupuncture and I have several in my reference library, but there is one that is special to me – “Modern Chinese Ear Acupuncture” by Ping Chen. Dr. Chen (though she always insisted that we call her Ping) was one of my professors at the International Institute of Chinese Medicine in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She is a dedicated teacher and compassionate doctor and I am very grateful to have had her as a mentor.
Ping’s book is thorough in point location and indications with detailed diagrams and case studies. She speaks of many ways to stimulate the auricular points including seed acupressure, needle implantation, plum blossom needling, ear moxibustion, ear massage, medicated plasters, electroacupuncture, magnet therapy, medicine injection and bloodletting.
Bloodletting is commonly done to the ear apex to treat a variety of conditions. The ear apex is located at the top of the ear. If you take the back of the ear and fold it towards the face, the ear apex located at the top of the ear where the crease is formed. First massage the auricle until the ear becomes red and warm. Bloodletting is done with a small three-edged needle after the area is carefully sterilized with alcohol. Prick the apex to draw three to five drops of blood and then stop the bleeding with pressure using a sterile cotton ball.
This procedure discharges heat from the body and is calming for the patient, relaxing tension and alleviating pain. This technique is very effective for reducing fever. Generally, fever will be reduced by 0.8-1.2 degrees centigrade a half hour after bloodletting and will return to normal within three daily treatments. Another common application is the treatment of early stage sty where the eyelid is marked by redness and swelling. Bleeding the ear apex is often the first step in a treatment protocol for treating migraine, acute sore throat, psoriasis, acne, insomnia and hypertension.
When I left Albuquerque, Dr. Chen was treating patients and hosting seminars for both acupuncturists and the general public at her beautiful Yi Ling Medical Center. If you get the opportunity to stop in and meet her, tell her that I remember her words of wisdom every day in my own clinic.