The 5 point ear protocol is a common treatment provided in a community acupuncture clinic. (acupuncture treatments provided in a group setting). This treatment is gaining popularity because due to it’s low cost and because healing in a group setting is very powerful. The 5 point protocol offered at VCM provides treatment for a myriad of issues with positive outcomes. The treatment is inserting five main points on the ear each point targeting a separate symptom and also work together to help regulate the nervous system. Auricular (ear) Acupuncture can be performed alone treatment or can be incorporated into regular acupuncture sessions.
Common issues treated successfully with the 5 point protocol include:
- stress relief
- pain reduction
- emotional issues/PTSD
- a powerful adjunct to a detox programs including: alcohol, drugs, pain meds, tobacco, sugar, food etc.
The five points commonly used are:
(1) The Autonomic Point: calms the nervous system and helps with overall relaxation
(2) The Shen Men or “spirit gate”: reduces anxiety and nervousness
(3) The Kidney Point: calms fears and heals internal organs
(4) The Liver Point: detoxification, blood purification, and to quell aggression
(5) The Lung Point: promotes aeration and helps clients let go of grief
Both acute and chronic pain may be addressed using auricular acupuncture. The musculoskeletal system of the entire body is represented on each ear. Typically, points on one or both ears are utilized. A non-insertive treatment can also be performed with “ear seeds” or “ear pellets” which adhere to the ear. They are applied to the same points as the needles, allowing the patient to apply pressure (acupressure) to these points as needed. Patients can keep the seeds/pellets on for 3 to 5 days, providing prolonging the treatment effects and a way for the patient to feel a sense of control over their cravings.
When targeting PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) or stress, this treatment accesses the sympathetic nervous system, reducing symptoms quickly, working to balance out the emotions, and promoting the release of endorphins to help patients feel calmer and more relaxed, because of its effectiveness at addressing the symptoms of anxiety and PTSD.
For detox, it works to reduce cravings by balancing the body’s brain chemistry and is useful to assist in healing the damage caused by smoking. Auricular acupuncture should be used alongside other conventional treatments for drug and alcohol detox, but can be used as a stand alone treatment for smoking cessation.