It seems strange to the uninitiated that the urgings of the stomach can be controlled by the application of needles at the ear. This is so because of the way needles influence the nerves of the body.
There is an intimate communication between the external ear and the internal organs of the abdomen. The communication between the auricle and the viscera began when you were but an embryo in your mother’s womb. Now that you are grown up, the connections are still represented there, only longer distances apart, and separated by many additional layers of tissue.
Science knows that the surfaces of the auricle are richly supplied with branches of four cranial and two cervical nerves. All of these nerves transmit what are called general somatic sensations and make the external ear a veritable network of neurologic interchange- a nest of nerves.
The tenth and largest of the twelve cranial nerves is also called the vagus or “wandering nerve”. It travels from below the brain to the esophagus, stomach, heart, lungs, windpipe and in fact, goes through the entire chest and most of the abdomen. The vagus nerve is mostly a motor nerve, in that it “drives” internal organs. It has one sensory branch: that branch that goes to the external ear!
The vagus nerve also has fibers that communicate with the nerves of the taste buds at the root of the tongue and with salivary glands in the jaw. This is another possible direct neurologic connection from the ear to the stomach and hunger.
This combination, of sensory branch and motor function, makes it possible for ear acupuncture to help you lose weight. So you see, there is a very direct connection between your ear and your stomach.
The methods for acupuncture treatment for smoking are points in the ear which are similar but slightly different from the weight loss ear acupuncture which involves the vagus nerve fibers which travel fromn below the brain to the lung as well as other organs such as the stomach.
We must emphasize that acupuncture acts only as an aid to stop smoking or overeating, and it is the individual’s own psychological willpower and commitment to stop smoking or overeating which acts as the primary factor in changing one’s own habits. Thus, for this reason,we require a psychological commitment on the part of the individual before we start treatment. Once the psychological decision is made, acupuncture can help eliminate that physical craving and withdrawal symptons.
Several whole body points were used in these treatments. This is because the practitioner must treat the body as a whole in order for a successful, comprehensive treatment to take place. Thus, the practitioner reads the characteristic 12 pulses of the 12 energy channels and looks at the color, texture of the tongue to ascertain which meridians are out of balance. Then, an oriental medical diagnosis is made and a treatment plan prescribed on that bases, in addition to the stop smoking and weight loss treatment. This is why patients commonly report that their other health prolems have been eliminated and that they feel emotionally so much more balances after the first treatments.