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Permanent Ear Acupuncture and Parkinson’s

Acupuncture

Acupuncture, which originated in China, has been a well-known technique for treating pain, disorders, or disease by inserting the tips of needles at specific points on the skin where the flow of energy is thought to be blocked.

Recently, several medical breakthroughs have been discovered with permanent acupuncture. Recent medical attempts found out that the application of permanent ear acupuncture (permanent auriculotherapy) might be able to slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease (PD), Alzheimer’s disease, and other main neurodegenerative diseases.

In this article, we’re going to explain what permanent ear acupuncture is, whether it is necessary, and its application.

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture arose several thousand years ago from the careful observation of the human condition, energy, and nature. Acupuncture treatment is based on the belief that each body organ has its own energy and is based on the principle of balancing Yin and Yang energies.

Acupuncture involves inserting needle tips into the skin at specific points where the flow of energy is believed to be blocked meridians. Acupuncture has been an effective method and is still in practice today though the materials have changed over time due to the advancement of science and technology.

What Is Permanent Ear Acupuncture (Permanent Auricular Acupuncture)?

Like traditional acupuncture, permanent ear acupuncture is a natural therapy whereby certain needles are inserted into the body to reestablish the balance of energy in the body. It is also an alternative treatment for slowly restoring the health of Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s patients.

Though permanent ear acupuncture relies on the principles and methods of acupuncture, it is permanent just as the name implies. That means the needles (micro-implants) stay permanently in the body. These micro-implants are made of titanium and are inserted into the patient’s ear (auricular pavilion).

In a nutshell, traditional acupuncture uses small needles to stimulate points throughout the body, including the ears. Whereas, permanent ear acupuncture is an acupressure technique exclusively on the ears.

The micro-implants are inserted into ear acupuncture points, which are mainly in the cartilage of the patient’s ear – the visible part of the ear that is outside the head. Hence, the name permanent auricular acupuncture.

Permanent auricular acupuncture is very effective because the auricular pavilion is connected to the CNS (central nervous system) via several nerve endings. When ear acupuncture is applied to these specific spots, it possibly stimulates the nervous system.

Parkinson’s disease (PD) prevents the production of enough dopamine in the patient’s body. However, permanent auricular acupuncture creates stimuli that can help to counteract this. What permanent auricular acupuncture does essentially is to enable the body of the patient to better self-regulate the levels of dopamine.

Permanent ear acupuncture was discovered in 2001 by Dr. Ulrich Werth. Since then, permanent ear acupuncture has been improving. For instance, several different implantation points have been examined and their effectiveness at treating different symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. As time has passed, the materials used for the micro-implants have become more advanced.

Potential Benefits of Permanent Ear Acupuncture

Permanent auricular acupuncture can be used to tackle several different health concerns, which include:

∎ allergies

∎ anxiety

∎ cancer pain and chemotherapy side effects

chronic pain [1], especially low back pain

∎ depression

∎ digestive issues

∎ Parkinson’s disease

∎ insomnia

∎ migraine

substance use disorder [2]

∎ weight loss

Permanent Ear Acupuncture as an Alternative Treatment for Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a serious health condition that to date has no cure. Nevertheless, permanent ear acupuncture as an alternative treatment [3] has shown positive results and can improve the patient’s quality of life.

The needles (mini-implants) inserted into the auricular pavilion during ear acupuncture treatment stimulate acupoints, which leads to the regeneration of brain cells. In the case of PD, the production [4] of dopamine is stimulated in the area of substantia nigra by a constant nervous stimulus.

Aside from PD, permanent auriculotherapy is also recommended for other degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, Restless Legs Syndrome, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Multiple Sclerosis, and many other health problems.

Alternative Parkinson’s Clinic Ltd offers various treatments for conditions like Parkinson´s, Alzheimer’s, etc. For any help regarding alternative treatments for Parkinson’s disease, you can visit their website https://alternativeparkinson.com/.

Ear Acupuncture Points

Permanent ear acupuncture targets points in the ear and there are over [5] 200 acupuncture points in the ear. The World Health Organization (WHO) [6] created a standard list of about 39 auricular points of which 10 points are often used as ear acupuncture points in permanent auriculotherapy treatments.

Some of the most commonly used ear acupuncture points include:

∎ Ear shenmen (spirit gate)

∎ Point zero (diaphragm)

∎ Kidney

∎ Sympathetic

∎ Heart point

The ear shenmen, heart point, and point zero are the three powerful points combination for promoting overall relaxation and general well-being. Each of these points has its unique energy and action on the body.

Ear shenmen: Ear shenmen is the most widely used sedative point. It promotes detoxification, eases anxiety, reduces pain and inflammation, calms the spirit, and quiets the heart.

Heart point: Heart point calms the mind, strengthens the spirit boosts memory and concentration, treats chest tightness, restlessness, and insomnia, eases anxiety, and invites joy.

Point zero: Point zero supports the solar plexus and all organs between the diaphragm and umbilicus. It promotes deep breathing, reduces tension, and aids grounding and centering.

Ear acupuncture chart

To visually describe ear acupuncture points, the ear acupuncture chart was created. This ear acupuncture chart [7] was compiled from multiple sources, therefore, it may vary slightly from other charts you have seen.

Ear Acupuncture Needles Vs. Acupuncture Ear Seeds

Aside from using ear acupuncture needles, acupuncture ear seeds can also be used for permanent auriculotherapy. Ear seeds are small seeds that can be used to stimulate pressure points in the ear.

Though ear seeds are based on the same general principles as acupuncture, unlike ear acupuncture needles, ear seeds are completely non-invasive and involve sticking the ear seeds to the therapeutic ear points.

Traditionally, ear seeds are tiny, sticky seeds from Vaccaria, a flowering herb. But nowadays, ear seeds are made of metals like silver, gold, or crystals but they come in the form of actual seeds. During treatment, these ear seeds are safely applied to some of the many recognized therapeutic ear points.

Like ear acupuncture, ear seeds can help to handle several health issues, which include:

∎ addiction

∎ anxiety

∎ chronic pain, especially lower back pain

∎ depression

∎ infertility

∎ insomnia and other sleep issues

∎ migraine and other head pain

∎ stress

∎ weight loss

How to Use Ear Seeds?

Though you can place the ear seeds on yourself, it’s always advisable to see a trained acupuncturist, especially if it’s your first time. Only a trained acupuncturist can go over the symptoms you want to address and help you find the right therapeutic ear points. They would also show you how to properly place the ear seeds in the future when the need arises.

However, if you still want to try using the ear seeds yourself, observe the following steps:

Clean your ear: Remember just like ear acupuncture, the ear seeds go on your auricular pavilion – the cartilage outside your body – and not in your ear canal. So, ensure your outer ear is clean and dry before the treatment.

Identify the right therapeutic ear points: While some ear seed kits come with charts showing the therapeutic ear points, some do not. A trained acupuncturist would be able to help you locate these points for the best treatment.

Apply the ear seeds: The next step involves applying the ear seeds to the therapeutic points on your ear. This is best done using tweezers. Most ear seeds come pre-attached to adhesive tape, so avoid touching the sticky side of the tape. Instead, gently press the tape to the right points and ensure the seed sticks well.

Massage the ear seeds gently: After placing and sticking the ear seeds onto the right points, massage them gently. Apply little pressure while rubbing and rub the seeds in a circular motion for about 1-3 minutes. Do this (massage) about 2-3 times daily.

Change the ear seeds regularly: Sometimes, the ear seeds may fall off your ear on their own after about 3-5 days. Nevertheless, do not leave ear seeds on your ear for more than 5 days, even if they don’t fall off.

Remove them: This is the final step. You can either remove them using your nails or tweezers. To ensure that no ear seed falls into your ear canal, tilt your head downwards or toward the ear before taking off the seeds. However, if any of the seeds fall into your ear canal for any reason and do not come out, consult your healthcare practitioner ASAP.

If you have to use a new ear seed, it is recommended that you allow your skin to rest in between ear seed placements. For instance, try to wait about a day before using new ear seeds or at least 8 hours. Also, always check your ear daily for signs of irritation while using ear seeds. Likely signs of irritation include:

∎ redness

∎ soreness

∎ swelling

∎ tenderness

If you notice any of these symptoms above, remove the ear seeds from your ear immediately.

Do Acupuncture Ear Seeds Work?

Although there are only a few high-quality studies on the use of acupuncture ear seeds, these studies showed that treatment is very effective and beneficial for certain health conditions, especially when combined with other treatments.

For instance, a study [8] conducted in 2013 showed that ear seeds were effective at reducing pain and improving mobility for 19 people living with chronic low back pain.

The participants were divided into two groups. The first group received the ear seeds treatment on the therapeutic points associated with lower back pain on their ears while the second group received the treatment in random points. After about 4 weeks of treatment, participants in the first group showed a better result than participants in the second group.

A more recent study [9] revealed that the combination of ear seeds and ear acupuncture was effective at reducing insomnia symptoms.

A study conducted [10] in 2015 to compare the pain tolerance (how much pain a person can withstand) of participants before and after using ear seeds showed that using ear seeds could increase pain tolerance.

Are Ear Seeds Safe to Try?

As stated above, ear seeds are completely non-invasive and don’t require the use of needles (micro-implants). Hence, they are generally safe to try and offer a lower risk of bleeding or infection compared to permanent ear acupuncture.

However, depending on your type of skin, you may feel some irritation. For instance, the metal seeds or adhesive tape may cause some irritations for sensitive skin or skin types that are allergic to latex. In such a case, you can use ceramic or Vaccaria seeds.

Some people reported having small sores around the ear seeds. These sores are often due to massaging the ear seeds too frequently. Lastly, some people report some side effects after using ear seeds including:

∎ dizziness

∎ nausea

∎ drowsiness

Though these side effects aren’t very common, we do not recommend that you drive immediately after massaging your ear seeds or receiving the treatment until you’ve known how your body reacts.

Bradykinesia Alternative Treatments

Bradykinesia is a health disorder characterized by slower movement and a reduced ability to quickly move the body on command. Most times, Bradykinesia is a sign of Parkinson’s disease – it is usually amongst the first symptoms that doctors search for while diagnosing Parkinson’s – but it can also be a side effect of medications.

The Symptoms of Bradykinesia

The main sign of bradykinesia is unusual slow movements. Though, there are several other signs that are commonly found with bradykinesia patients. These signs include:

∎ difficulty with tasks that are repetitive in nature, like tapping fingers or clapping hands

∎ dragging one or both feet while walking

∎ freezing — muscle reactions can slow to a point that the muscles become frozen or immobile, for a while

∎ having difficulty in getting ready every day (e.g. styling hair, brushing teeth, buttoning clothes)

∎ having little or no facial expressions

∎ shuffling when walking

Bradykinesia is the major factor that makes those with Parkinson’s disease lose their speaking ability. The disorder causes their voice to gradually become softer in time, making their words harder to understand clearly.

Treatment for Bradykinesia

Just as Parkinson’s disease can’t be cured, Bradykinesia also can’t be cured. Instead, the symptoms of Bradykinesia can only be managed with medications and the most useful treatments are those that raise dopamine levels in the body.

Here are some medications that act like dopamine [11] or manipulate the dopamine levels in the body to achieve a similar reaction:

∎ MAO-B inhibitors

∎ dopamine agonists

∎ carbidopa-levodopa

There are several medications for managing Bradykinesia and no one medication works for everyone. Hence, you would need to consult your healthcare practitioner to find the ideal medication for you if you suspect you are suffering from Bradykinesia.

Another challenge with finding the correct medication is the fact that the medications for Bradykinesia become less effective with time. As a result, your healthcare practitioner would have to monitor your response to regulate the dosage of the treatment or change the medication as necessary.

Aside from medications, there are other lifestyle changes for managing the symptoms of Bradykinesia. There are certain steps and lifestyle changes you can adopt to manage Bradykinesia.

However, make sure you discuss these steps and lifestyle changes with your doctor prior to including them in your Bradykinesia treatment plan. Don’t forget, anything that can help in managing Parkinson’s disease would also help in managing Bradykinesia. Some of these steps and lifestyle practices include:

∎ doing physical therapy with workouts that enhance your flexibility, balance, and strength.

∎ eating a high fiber diet

∎ eating a healthy diet

∎ swimming every day for 30 minutes

∎ walking every day for 30 minutes at a brisk pace

Finally, other Bradykinesia alternative treatments are permanent ear acupuncture and ear seeds. Since permanent ear acupuncture and ear seeds have been initially found to manage Parkinson’s disease effectively, these treatments will effectively work for Bradykinesia also.

Conclusion

Permanent ear acupuncture is an alternative treatment that may help with several common health issues – from chronic pain, disorders, to digestion issues. From this post above, you can see that both permanent ear acupuncture and ear seeds treatment are effective alternative treatments for Parkinson’s disease and Bradykinesia.

Note that both permanent ear acupuncture and ear seeds treatment may not directly help in increasing the production of dopamine in the body or reversing brain nerve cell damage, however, these treatments can possibly enhance communication networks between brain cells.

As a result, both alternative treatments can potentially protect dopamine through various beneficial mechanisms. If you want to try an alternative treatment for Parkinson’s disease and Bradykinesia, then permanent auriculotherapy may be worth trying. Just ensure to consult a trained and licensed acupuncturist.

If you’re pregnant, don’t try any of these alternative treatments until you have consulted your healthcare provider because some ear acupuncture points may induce early labor.

References:

1. https://academic.oup.com/painmedicine/article/18/3/551/2420611

2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5485467/

3. https://t2conline.com/managing-parkinsons-disease-treatment-options-and-other-information/

4. https://alternativeparkinson.com/what-is-permanent-acupuncture/

5. https://feelycenter.com/ear-acupuncture/

6. https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/60870/WHO_TRM_91.2.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

7. http://www.tcmstudent.com/study_tools/Ear Chart.html

8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3603381/

9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4425871/

10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4508478/

11. http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0047138

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