​Donald K. Liebell, DC, BCAO

477 Viking Drive Suite 170

Virginia Beach VA 23452 
8:30AM - 6:30PM M,W,F 

(By Appointment Tu, Sat) 


The Liebell Clinic: Chronic Pain & Wellness Solutions

Natural & holistic, whole-person, wellness-based Healthcare - Drug-Free & Non-Surgical Pain Relief


History of Auricular Therapy

(Ear Acupuncture) 

    By Dr. Donald Liebell

   The medical term for the outer ear is the AURICLE, hence the name auricular therapy.  The auricular therapy ear acupuncture approach is considerably different from traditional Chinese body acupuncture.  With auricular therapy, we are not treating standard or fixed acupuncture points along the established meridians - the energy channels of traditional Chinese medicine.  Specific organs or tissues that are affected are treated at acupuncture points detected within their corresponding zones (projection sites) on the ear.  For example, if you have a pain in the shoulder, the ear zones would be examined at treated directly.  Treatable ear acupuncture points are different for each individual, based upon their particular pain or illness, as well as its stage (acute, chronic, and/or degenerative).

   The outer ear has been documented to have been considered as an area of focus dating back to ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome and Persia.  One may come upon quite a few articles crediting auricular therapy's roots to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).  This is only accurate from the standpoint that Chinese acupuncture, which is done all over the body, includes a few acupuncture points on the outer ear (auricular acupuncture points) that are part of the TCM meridian energy channel system.  The Chinese did NOT know that the outer ear could serve as an entire system of acupuncture for the entire body... an acupuncture "micro-system."  

   The auricular therapy system of comprehensive ear acupuncture

was discovered and developed in France beginning in the 1950s

by the award-winning, neurologist, Paul Nogier, M.D. (1908-1996).  

   The Discovery   
   In the 1950's, Dr. Nogier noticed a strange scar on the upper ear of some of his patients. He found that all of them had been treated for sciatica pain by a local woman, Madame Barrin.  She had cauterized (intentionally burned) a specific area of the external ear in order to relieve their low back pain.  She had no idea why or how it worked.  Dr. Nogier conducted a similar procedure on his own sciatica patients and found that their back pain was also reduced.  He then tried other means of stimulating this "sciatica point," including the use of acupuncture needles, and found that they helped with the sciatic pain too.  Dr. Nogier brilliantly took this observation and developed it into a comprehensive science.  He hypothesized that if an area of the upper external ear is effective in treating low back pain, maybe other parts of the ear could treat other parts of the body.

    Nogier's research revealed that the ear is energetically connected to the entire body: a “micro-system.”  This means that the outer ear is a tiny microcosm of living energy—a comprehensive acupuncture system representing the entire body. 

   Every structure of the human body could be mapped on the outer ear — the auricle.   

He observed that the ear could be compared to an upside-down human fetus; the head

represented by the lower ear lobe, the feet at the top of the ear, and the rest of the body

in-between.  This model was first presented in France in 1957, then spread to Germany,

and finally was translated into Chinese.  In 195 8 the Chinese adopted this model, and

acknowledged Nogier as the “Father of Auricular Therapy.”      

    Several years later, Dr. Nogier and his research team discovered that the surface of the ear is actually a 3-dimensional, holographic energetic projector of the human anatomy and physiology.  A hologram is a 3-dimensional image of an object, which contains the information of the object itself… and in EVERY PART of itself.  Dennis Gabor theorized the concept of holography in 1947.  Leith and Upatniecks introduced it practically by 1964.  

                                                                                       Nogier realized that the ear at all times, presents us with a 3-dimensional                                                                                              “image” created by energy interference patterns.  This in turn, meant that there                                                                                       must be three distinct mappings(holographic energy phases) of the body which                                                                                         exist on the ear, depending upon the nature of the health condition (acute,                                                                                             chronic or degenerative).  There isn't just one zone or point on the ear for each                                                                                         organ or tissue; there are 3 different areas to consider. 

   Unfortunately, few practitioners have considered Nogier’s significantly more sophisticated and complex 3-phase approach to auricular therapy.  Many practitioners have been satisfied with the one-phase (ear mapping) approach.  Nogier's work has been maintained and furthered by research of anesthesiologist, Medical Acupuncturist and homeopathy authority, Nader Soliman, M.D.  I a m proud privileged to have Dr. Soliman as my mentor, and to be able to carry on the work of Dr. Paul Nogier, to serve the Hampton Roads community.  

  With further exhaustive research, Dr. Nogier developed auricular therapy into an even more sophisticated system, which he called auricular medicine.  Auricular therapy and auricular medicine are NOT the same thing.  Unfortunately, many Internet sources inaccurately refer to their ear acupuncture services as auricular medicine.  Authentic Nogier auricular medicine is a much more sophisticated system of bio-energetic testing, analysis, and treatment beyond its original ear acupuncture component.              

  Nogier's 3-phase ear acupuncture treatment of the outer ear in this system is a critical component.  The image above depicts not only the "inverted fetus" model, but also the two other critical-to-know phases.  Ear acupuncture at its highest level acknowledges that the body is a always-changing, highly dynamic system.  Auricular therapy differs significantly from traditional Chinese medicine body acupuncture in that there are no fixed acupuncture points on the ear; they change locations throughout the course of the patients condition... and they are not in the exact same place on each person.   
   The science of auricular therapy has been well documented, internationally researched, and published in medical journals.  Sadly, most American doctors are unfamiliar with it—even though it has been practiced worldwide for decades, with tremendous success.  Auricular therapy has proven to bring pain relief and healing, in many cases, after all other medical interventions have failed.  For several years now, it has been successfully used by the United States Armed Forces.      

    In 1990, the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) proclaimed that Auricular therapy is “probably the most developed and best documented, scientifically, of all the “micro-systems” of acupuncture and is the most practical and widely used.”  The WHO lists 150 conditions for which auricular therapy is appropriate!

   The famous German philosopher, Schopenhauer (1788 – 1860) once said, “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”  Throughout every era in world history, the controlling authorities of the time have professed to possess all of the knowledge.  New ideas are considered “radical,” crazy, or subversive.  Somewhere along the line, the term, “alternative medicine” was created to describe treatment methods that do not conform to the current establishment’s ways.  Odd isn’t it that acupuncture, and other highly effective and safe, natural treatments that long preceded pharmaceutical medicine… are referred to as “alternative?”

   The methods pioneered by the late Dr. Paul Nogier ares certainly categorized as alternative medicine in America.  Personally, I prefer the term natural health care; it implies neither inferiority nor superiority to conventional drugs or surgery.  Keep in mind that Dr. Nogier was decorated with one of the French government’s highest honors for his contribution to medicine with this work.  All methods of health care should be complementary to one another, and utilized upon individuals’ needs.  I am humbled by the genius of Dr. Nogier.

  And I am forever grateful and proud to be trained in America by anesthesiologist, medical acupuncturist, and homeopathy expert, Nader Soliman, M.D.  Dr. Soliman has helped me to carry on the work of Dr. Paul Nogier—to serve the health needs of those who have lost hope.  Without auricular medicine, my wife would still have Lyme disease, and my son would still have asthma.  Because of my family’s experience, and pouring my heart and soul into its study… I am proud to report that its usage has been instrumental in the recovery for many others for whom conventional medical testing, technology, and treatment has failed.   Today we see some doctors, who demonstrate the open-mindedness to explore human health care methods outside the realm of conventional drug and surgical practices.  Dr. Paul Nogier was ahead of his time, as he was doing this many decades ago.  I am very proud to carry on his work, using the methods that have meant the world to my family, and I'm proud to say, to all the wonderful people who have given me the opportunity to treat them. 

Dr. Donald Liebell