Auriculotherapy is a form of acupuncture that utilizes acupuncture points on the ear. Which of the following statements are true regarding auriculotherapy?
Auriculotherapy is a very common form of acupuncture that is based on the theory that the external ear has a somatotopic microsystem that is connected to the entire body1,2. Auriculotherapy can be done with traditional acupuncture needles, microneedles on adhesive pads, adhesive pellets, and laser. Auriculotherapy has been shown to have a positive effect on anxiety, insomnia, acute pain, and chronic pain, albeit the quality of studies are limited2,3,4,5,6. The NADA auriculotherapy protocol was developed to treat detoxification symptoms and reduce drug cravings. In a systematic review of published randomized controlled trials, 64% of studies reported that auriculotherapy was effective in the treatment of substance use disorders7. Supplementing existing evidence-based treatment with the NADA protocol may facilitate recovery by increasing treatment retention and decreasing methadone dosage needs8. Battlefield acupuncture (BFA) is a specific auriculotherapy treatment used for the treatment of acute pain, commonly used in the military and VA hospitals9. The literature regarding its efficacy is inconsistent2,9,10.
1Oleson T. Overview and History of Auriculotherapy. Auriculotherapy Manual: Chinese and Western Systems of Ear Acupuncture, Fourth Edition, Churchill Livingstone, 2014, Pages 1-24. ISBN 9780702035722
2Liebell D. The Science of Auricular Microsystem Acupuncture: Amygdala Function in Psychiatric, Neuromusculoskeletal, and Functional Disorders. Med Acupunct. 2019 Jun 1;31(3):157-163. doi: 10.1089/acu.2019.1339. Epub 2019 Jun 17. PMID: 31297169; PMCID: PMC6604906.
3Vieira A, Reis AM, Matos LC, Machado J, Moreira A. Does auriculotherapy have therapeutic effectiveness? An overview of systematic reviews. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2018 Nov;33:61-70. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2018.08.005. Epub 2018 Aug 23. PMID: 30396628.
4Lan Y, Wu X, Tan HJ, Wu N, Xing JJ, Wu FS, Zhang LX, Liang FR. Auricular acupuncture with seed or pellet attachments for primary insomnia: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2015 Apr 2;15:103. doi: 10.1186/s12906-015-0606-7. PMID: 25886561; PMCID: PMC4425871.
5Dellovo AG, Souza LMA, de Oliveira JS, Amorim KS, Groppo FC. Effects of auriculotherapy and midazolam for anxiety control in patients submitted to third molar extraction. Int J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2019 May;48(5):669-674. doi: 10.1016/j.ijom.2018.10.014. Epub 2018 Nov 12. PMID: 30442551.
6Serritella E, Impellizzeri A, Liguori A, Galluccio G. Auriculotherapy used to manage orthodontic pain: a randomized controlled pilot study. Dental Press J Orthod. 2021 Dec 17;26(6):e2119381. doi: 10.1590/2177-6709.26.6.e2119381.oar. PMID: 34932772; PMCID: PMC8690330.
7Lee EJ. Effects of auriculotherapy on addiction: a systematic review. J Addict Dis. 2022 Feb 18:1-13. doi: 10.1080/10550887.2021.2016011. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35179436.
8Baker TE, Chang G. The use of auricular acupuncture in opioid use disorder: A systematic literature review. Am J Addict. 2016 Dec;25(8):592-602. doi: 10.1111/ajad.12453. Epub 2016 Nov 2. PMID: 28051842.
9Yang J, Ganesh R, Wu Q, Li L, Ogletree SP, Del Fabro AS, Wahner-Roedler DL, Xiong D, Bauer BA, Chon TY. Battlefield Acupuncture for Adult Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Am J Chin Med. 2021;49(1):25-40. doi: 10.1142/S0192415X21500026. Epub 2020 Dec 29. PMID: 33375924.
10Taylor SL, Giannitrapani KF, Ackland PE, Thomas ER, Federman DG, Holliday JR, Olson J, Kligler B, Zeliadt SB. The Implementation and Effectiveness of Battlefield Auricular Acupuncture for Pain. Pain Med. 2021 Aug 6;22(8):1721-1726. doi: 10.1093/pm/pnaa474. PMID: 33769534.