What is Acupuncture?

The stimulation of acupuncture points is one of the oldest and most widespread healing methods in the world.  Inserting needles into precisely defined points of the skin can eliminate or alleviate disturbances in the body.

Acupuncture points are connected by energy pathways which are called “meridians.”  According to ancient Chinese teaching, the life energy circulates through the body along these meridians.  The two components of the life force, Yin energy and Yang energy, act in the body as opposite poles.  The ideal state of health is achieved by balancing Yin and Yang in the body.  Imbalances or blockage of energy leads to illness.

To restore the flow of energy, acupuncture points can be influenced in various ways.  Inserting a needle into a point is called acupuncture.  
The points can also be stimulated by heat (moxibustion), pressure (acupressure), laser beam (laser acupuncture) or ultrasound.  

The course of a meridian through the body can explain why, for example, a disturbed gallbladder function can lead to headaches: The meridian running through the gallbladder region (the Gallbladder Meridian) extends further to the head.  The meridian may be compared to a water hose:  
if the hose has a knot at one end, the water cannot flow out at the other end.  Likewise, a headache may occur when the flow of energy in the Gallbladder Meridian is interrupted due to a disturbed gallbladder function.  In this example, the disturbed gallbladder needs to be treated first, in order to fight the headache.

Many people are scared by the idea of having needles stuck into their body.  However, acupuncture does not hurt because the needles are very thin and the majority of the people are surprised at what a pleasant experience it is.


This special form of acupuncture was developed in the 1950’s by the French physician, Dr. Paul Nogier.  He discovered that the surface of the outer ear (auricle) is a reflex area on which all parts of the body are represented.

By examining individual reflex zones on the ear, it is possible to identify precisely where in the body the pain is located - or which of the organs are affected if the origin of the pain is unclear.  Certain disturbances in the body which can delay, or even prevent, the healing process can also be located.  At first glance, such a focus has nothing to do with the disease process itself and is often not even noticed by the patient.  However, these foci can have such a negative effect  on the body that it becomes prone to falling ill.  In addition, they can prevent a pre-existing disease from responding to conventional therapies so that the body cannot get rid of it. 

Examination is carried out by measuring voltage differences on the ear surface.  Individual ear points that represent specific parts of the body are checked for electrical changes.  Thus, the auricle can be regarded as the body’s own diagnostic center because an ear point corresponding to a body part can only be detected when the part in question is disturbed.  For example, an electrical change at the Liver Point on the ear indicates a disturbance of the liver. Researchers at the University of Southern California are involved in testing Auricular Therapy's efficacy in diagnosing pain and illness.

Auricular Therapy is not an "unproven" or mystical treatment approach.  There is a vast array of published medical research on the subject of Auricular Therapy, and acupuncture in general.  Technology such as Functional MRI (fmri) proves that ear acupuncture indeed triggers an effect in areas of the brain specific to corresponding ear zones.

Acupuncturist, Barbara Bittinger is involved in ongoing training and research into this exciting field. At Princeton Acupuncture she has been using a treatment protocol called "Battlefield Acupuncture" developed by Dr Neimtzow of the US Air Force. The use of 24K gold, semi-permanent, ear needles has been successful in giving patients lasting pain relief and effective treatment of PSTD