Auricular points can help a person who has experienced trauma deal with the physiological and psychological after-effects. Needle the points in the following order.
The Trauma Points
1. Hypothalamus – stimulates the parasympathetic functions, calms, centers, focuses, helps with decision making and anxiety control. The is just medial to the intertragic notch. Use an ear probe to find the sensitive spot in this zone.
2. Amygdala – helps modulate irritability, anger, fear, and aggression. It’s just below the intertragic notch, but not on the cartilage. It’s on the fleshy part.
3. Hippocampus – has a lot to do with memory storage and emotional experiences, memory, and concentration. This is a big range – use your ear probe to find the tender spot. This on the fleshy part, not the cartilage.
4. Master Cerebral – a master point for psychoemotional and psychosomatic problems, emotions that come along with chronic pain and even the pain itself. This point is right where the lobe curls upward and attaches to the face.
5. Point Zero – very strong auricular point for the mind, the emotions, and for homeostatic balance for the body. If you divide the ear vertically from the apex to the bottom of the lobe, then divide the ear in half horizontally this point would be right where these “crosshairs” meet in the center.
6. Shenmen – also called ‘spirit gate’ and sometimes ‘calm heart.’ I’m betting that if you have done acupuncture for any length of time you’ve probably used it. This point is bi-directional, either calming or enlivening heart fire, depending on what the body needs. It’s often used for pain, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and stress. It can also be used for hypersensitivity to needles.
Needle Retention for Trauma Protocol
Needle the points in the order above and retain for 30+ minutes. If you are also using body points during the same treatment, needle the trauma points first before needling the body points.
You can also send your patients home with ear seeds, ear magnets, or ear tacks, depending on the patient and your relationship and history with them.
This protocol is an excerpt from the article HMI Auricular Trauma Protocol: An Acupuncture Approach for Trauma Spectrum Symptoms, published in the journal Medical Acupuncture, Vol. 23, No 4, 2011. The authors are Joseph Helms, MD; Stevan A. Walkowski, DO; Mitchell Elkiss, DO; Donna Pittman, MD; Nick S. Kouchis, MD; Bradley Lawrence, MD.