German auricular acupuncture: a case study and patient report

I continue to be impressed with the results of German auricular acupuncture on clients of Red Clover Clinic. I’d like to share a case study and first-person patient account of this powerful treatment.

If you recall, the last issue of Red Clover Clinic Newsletter described the concept of focus points in German auricular acupuncture. A quick review: our ears have points that harbor a body/brain memory of a particular stress or trauma we have experienced. ” Focus” activity can be a chronic burden on the system, preventing it from returning to its previous level of homeostasis. Treating focus points can help to clear the stressful body memory and potentially heal chronic afflictions that don’t seem to respond to other treatments. A few needles can clear past trauma and promote healing, as you shall see.

A case study

A 55-year-old woman who had been coming to me for acupuncture and bodywork was interested in experiencing a German auricular acupuncture session. She had a history of several injuries and two surgeries: an appendectomy and bunion surgery. Her main complaints were pain and tightness around her tailbone (pain level of 4 on a scale of 10) and tightness along her lower thoracic spine on the right side (pain level 2 on a scale of 10). These were chronic conditions for which she had undergone years of physical training and various treatments to correct. 

The injury that stood out as the most significant was a horseback riding injury at age 17. The saddle slid off the horse’s back, and she was dragged by her left leg.  She blacked out and remembers waking up with pain in her left hip and the right side of her back.

First, I did a preliminary scan of the ear, using a 3-Volt Hammer (a device with two points with opposite polarity), to determine which points on the ear needed to be tested for activity. The testing itself is done with a piece of equipment called the Pointoselct Digital DT. This tool measures the electrical conductance of each point. The lower the conductance, the more active the point. The most active points are the points selected for treatment. Five points were selected and needled–one that corresponds to the tailbone on both sides, a point that correlated with the thoracic region, and two functional points that help mediate pain.

While resting with the needles, the client had the sensation of having the wind knocked out of her two separate times. She had to concentrate on breathing through the episodes. After getting up off the table, she felt that her whole tailbone region had released. She felt no pain, and noticed that her leg stayed properly aligned when she walked. 

Twenty-four hours following the treatment, the client reported that her right lower back had loosened up a lot, which made any discomfort in her thoracic region and upper back almost disappear. She also mentioned that she had a slight fever the night of the treatment and into the next morning.

I find this case to be interesting, because not only was there a clear improvement in the symptoms, there was also a body experience that was relived and then released. This experience sped up the client’s progress in her physical training. She continues to get occasional auricular treatments when something feels stuck.

A patient report

“I have been a patient of Anita’s for a few years, to get rid of a chronic cough and deal with some premenopausal symptoms. Herbs, both western and Chinese, as well as regular acupuncture, were used with good effect over that period of time.

“As menopause approached and hot flashes increased, Anita mentioned that German auricular acupuncture was particularly effective for hormonal conditions. I was game to try, even though the needles used are slightly larger than for Chinese acupuncture and thus can be momentarily more uncomfortable.

“I always experience a feeling of relaxation during an acupuncture treatment, but the sensation was much more pronounced during my first German auricular session. I became aware of how much nervous tension I carry in my body. The calm, level feeling continued for a full day. I was hoping it would go on forever! Though it did not, alas, the overall effect of multiple treatments over time is noticeable.

“And what about the hot flashes? After two treatments, spaced a week apart, they virtually disappeared for a month. I thought that was that, but they did return, though fewer and less intense. A treatment every month or so has kept them under control.”