What's The Deal with Ear Acupuncture?

A counselor that does acupuncture?! What's that all about? 

I know that it might be a new concept to some of you; maybe even to some of my current clients. Let me fill you in on what is going on. 

For over 50 years doctors in China have been helping people work through withdrawal from Opiate Addiction with ear acupuncture.  In the process they discovered it was helpful for so much more.

When it was first introduced in the Bronx in the 1970s, it helped methadone clinics provide safe & affordable withdrawal and detoxification and from there it grew. 

Over the years, ear acupuncture has been researched and shown to be helpful to: 

  • Reduce cravings for addictive substances such as alcohol, narcotics, tobacco and sugar
  • Treat anxiety, depression, grief and PTSD
  • Provide relief from stress, mental chaos and to increase calmness
  • Assist with sleep-related issues and to improve sleep 
  • Provide an easier acclimation to counseling services by providing a non-verbal approach  

And of course, since I'm in the profession of helping people with -- well, all of those things --  I wanted to take my practice a step further. I wanted to be able to offer my clients as robust of a treatment as possible. 

But does it hurt? Where do the needles go? 

The short answer is "no". The real answer is that some people experience very brief discomfort but that it's rare. No big deal, I won't be torturing you to try improving your health. 

The needles go in up to five places in both ears for a total of up to 10 needles. They go in very specific places that help with specific things:

  • The Sympathetic Point: Dialates blood vessels and has a strong analgesic/relaxation effect. Helps with sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system disruptions.  
  • The Shen Men Point:  Regulates excitation and inhibition in the cerebral cortex. Produces a sense of sedation. 
  •  The Lung Point: The lung point also has analgesic effects and also deals with the sweats and respiratory issues. This is the point related to dealing with grief. 
  • The Kidney Point:  The kidney point helps strengthen kidney function, reduces mental weariness & fatigue, and also helps eliminate headaches. This is also the point used to deal with fear and willpower. 
  • The Liver Point: The liver point deals with liver function and inflammation, as well as anger.  

Ten points in all, five per ear, and I can help you just that much better than with counseling alone.  

Do you have other questions about how acupuncture fits in with counseling? Please reach out and let me answer them for you.  

Until next time,


Alexander Michaud