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November 17, 2009

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Hear this: Keep your eyes on your ears and rub them for health

YOUR ears contain more than 200 acupuncture points linked with your organs and ears can reveal both general health and specific problems. They're a surprisingly accurate diagnostic tool. Zhang Qian listens up.

Modern science tells us that the auricle, the external part of the ear, collects sounds so that we can hear them more clearly. But the ancient Chinese believed the ear is more than a sound collector - they considered it a magical medical box, a health barometer and diagnostic tool.

According to traditional Chinese medicine, the ear (er duo) can reveal health conditions, and various TCM therapies, such as acupuncture and rubbing, can relieve problems.

Rubbing the ear frequently is an easy and effective way to maintain health or adjust energy imbalances.

Experts say that observing the ear can help them understand existing health conditions and predict future health issues.

Acupuncture, acupressure (pressing, rubbing) and applying tiny seeds on acupuncture points in the ear are widely used in TCM treatments. Some widely used acupuncture points in the ear will be explained in the next story.

The ear contains more than 200 acupuncture points that connect with various organs, thereby linking the ear with the rest of the body.

Thus, TCM holds that any changes inside human body are reflected on the ears, and stimulating acupuncture points on the ear can help adjust energy imbalances and so relieve ailments.

Therapies such as piercing the ear to release blood for headache relief are recorded in "Huang Di Nei Jing" ("Medical Classic of the Yellow Emperor") more than 2,000 years ago.

Observing the ear aids in TCM diagnosis (wang zhen), known as observing diagnosis. TCM practitioners note the color, luster and other aspects of the ear as Walter Hartenbach writes in "Was Ohren Verraten" ("The Secrets Revealed by the Ear: Personality, Talent and Health") published in August last year.

A healthy person's ears are usually thick, pink and glossy, indicating sufficient energy and blood circulation.

Pale ears usually suggest problems of pathogenic cold (excessive yin and or insufficient yang energy). Cold-ear people have been born with "cold" constitution or suffering cold-related ailments. They usually have cold extremities, abundant clear pale urine and often feel cold and suffer diarrhea.


Red, flushed ears often indicate shang huo (fire-ascending) problems. Their owners may have bad tempers, often feel thirsty and suffer headache, dizziness, ear-ringing, insomnia and constipation.

Dark ears usually indicate serious pain problems such as angina, stomachache and intestinal pain.

Thin ears indicate deficient kidney energy - in TCM the kidneys refer to the reproductive and urinary systems.

People with thin, dark, withered and lackluster ears usually suffer serious yin (cold energy) deficiency in kidneys. They are often physically thin and may suffer dizziness, ear-ringing, sore back and knees, night sweats, hot palms and foot arches, and fatigue.

Male patients may suffer spermatorrhea (involuntary discharge of semen without orgasm) and premature ejaculation. Female patents may have irregular periods, little menstrual blood or even cessation of menstruation.

There's more.

Abnormal bumps or depressions in the ear may indicate cancer, cirrhosis of the liver and other chronic problems. Abnormal raised blood vessels often indicate coronary heart disease and asthma. Festering infections and earache are often seen in cases of middle-ear infections, indicating pathogenic heat, wind or damp.

Different parts of the ear also reveal disorders in different organs, according to Ma Yueling, in her best-selling "Bu Sheng Bing De Zhi Hui" ("The Wisdom of Not Being Sick"), published in 2007. Ma, used to be a nurse in Jiangsu Province, is honored by many as "Godmother of Health" as she published several healthcare bestsellers based on her 20-year study of TCM and diet therapy.

Almost every organ and tissue has corresponding reflexive points in the ear. Aching, blisters, pimple, peelings, changes of shape and color of certain spots indicate disorders of related organs. Stimulating different parts of the ear, by rubbing for example, can help relieve related problems.

An ear, it is said, looks like an upside-down fetus in the uterus and different parts of the fetus reflect the same parts of the human body.

For example, the earlobe, which looks like the head of a fetus, reflects problems in the face and head, such as toothache, acne and eye strain. Rubbing and kneading the earlobe, or letting blood from the lobe can help relieve these problems.

Want a perfect complexion? Rub and knead your earlobe often. The cavum conchae, the sunken area near the ear passage, is located at the "chest" of the fetus. It reflects the condition of organs in the thoracic cavity. Stimulating this area often can help improve blood circulation system. Place the forefinger at the ear's hole and use the thumb to rub the area at the back. The cymba auricula, the sunken area above cavum conchae, lies at the "belly" of the fetus, reflects condition in the abdominal cavity. Rubbing this area can help digestion and benefit spleen and kidneys.

The helix reflects the trunk and limbs. Those suffering pains in the neck, shoulder, waist should rub the helix often. Ma Yueling suggests massaging both ears once before bed and once when getting up in the morning.

Influences reproductive system, limbs and joints

Pull the top of the ear upward.

Rub and knead the top of ear with the forefinger and thumb until it gets hot.

Pull it 15-20 times.

Influences cervical vertebra, lumbar, thoracic vertebra, shoulder and elbow

Rub the helix, and pull it outward.

Rub until it gets hot.

Put it outward 15-20 times.

Influences head, forehead, tongue, eye, teeth, and cheek

Pull the earlobe downward.

Rub the earlobe until it gets hot.

Pull it downward15-20 times.

Influences heart, lungs, stomach, spleen, liver, gallbladder, large intestine, small intestine, kidney and bladder

Rub auricular fossa.

Rub the cavum conchae and cymba auricular areas until they get hot.

Relieves headache, dizziness, ear-ringing, general weakness and improve complexion

Rub basal part of the ear.

Rub up and down with the middle finger in the front and the forefinger at the back.

Do it 40-50 times.


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