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Auriculotherapy, how does it work?

This therapeutic technique, reserved for doctors, relieves pain and functional disorders by stimulating reflex zones in the ear.

This discipline of applied neurophysiology was developed in the 1970s by Dr Paul Nogier, who observed lasting relief in patients with sciatica by cauterization of a point of the pinna of the ear. Nothing to do with Chinese acupuncture. There, it is a question of stimulating, with tiny needles, the 196 zones which form an electric card at the level of the ear, our auricular pavilions being considered as touch screens connected to a “supercomputer”: our brain! Thus stimulated by these “signals”, it reacts by modulating the painful messages and by rebalancing the faulty circuits explains Pr David Alimi, neurophysiologist, researcher and teacher, who has long provided the auriculotherapy consultation at the pain center of the Gustave Institute -Roussy. Stimulation is performed with sterile single-use mechanical needles (left to act for 20 to 40 minutes) or semi-permanent (they fall after a few days or weeks), or by cryogenics (injection of a spray).

It is suitable for …osteoarthritis, eczema, ENT disorders, constipation, smoking cessation, weight loss, stress, anxiety … Its field of action is wide! It also relieves symptoms associated with cancer treatments, such as dry mouth in people irradiated to the neck and head. “In more than 67% of cases, the patient regains his salivary functions.”

But it has no effect on … psychiatric pathologies (schizophrenia, psychosis). It does not replace a surgical intervention, nor the cancer treatment that it accompanies, as supportive care.

Is it affordable? The cost of a session (from 50 to 100 €) is partially reimbursed by Social Security on the basis of a classic consultation. Some mutuals reimburse all or part of the supplement.

Which address ? The French society of auriculotherapy lists the doctors holding an interuniversity diploma, the only ones authorized to practice.

The testimony of Annie, 65: “I tried auriculotherapy to treat spasmophilia attacks, associated with dizziness, fatigue and anxiety. It was forty years ago! A few sessions have put me back on my feet … And today Today, my three sessions, spaced out over the year, relieve my osteoarthritis pain. They also help me sleep better and soothe my nervousness, without resorting to medication. ”

The specialist’s advice: “Functional disorder or chronic pain, auriculotherapy is for everyone. If you start, plan 3 sessions spaced a month each. And for those who dread needles, cryogenics helps prevent anxiety.”

Thanks to David Alimi, neurophysiologist and doctor in Alfortville.

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