July-August 2012 Red Clover Clinic Newsletter

Published: Mon, 07/02/12

July - August 2012

In This Issue

  • German auricular acupuncture: its history and how it works
  • A summer herb walk
  • Did you know? 
German auricular acupuncture: its history and how it works

Over the past few months, I have been learning and practicing German auricular acupuncture, and have been very impressed by the results. The first question everyone asks is: "German acupuncture??" And the second question is: "Why the ear?" Read on for the answer to these questions. I hope to pique your interest in this interesting and effective medicine in a two-part article that will continue in the next issue.

History of auricular acupuncture

The two words "German" and "acupuncture" don't seem like they should go together. But in fact, they do. Body acupuncture, the acupuncture that first comes to mind, is definitely of Chinese origin. Auricular acupuncture began in China as well, but its in-depth development occurred in Europe, beginning in the 1950s. As the story goes, the French neurologist Dr. Paul Nogier noticed a scar on the ears of several of his patients. The patients reported that the scars were the result of an effective treatment for sciatica, performed by a lay practitioner. Nogier was intrigued, and proceeded to do further research, ultimately discovering that the entire body is mapped on the ear in the configuration of an upside down fetus.

In 1956, Nogier's findings were published in an international acupuncture journal. The Chinese adopted this ground-breaking, foundational information, and built upon it using the traditional Chinese medicine system. As Nogier continued to research auriculotherapy, he worked together with Dr. Frank Bahr of Germany and Dr. Rene Bourdiol of France. Through these connections, European auriculotherapy continued to develop in France and Germany.

The French, German, and Chinese systems share a lot in common, but there are distinctive features within each system. Next month I will explain what makes the German system unique and powerful.

Why the ear?

As Nogier discovered, the ear contains a representative map of the entire body, including the musculoskeletal system, the organs, and the central nervous system. This map is projected onto the ear by the brain. The brain is a relay of sorts, by way of which we recognize and experience illnesses and pain syndromes in our body. Those experiences are then projected by the brain onto the ear. By treating the ear, a signal is recognized by the brain, and sent to the part of the body in need of help. In other words, the ears give the practitioner a two-way avenue for direct communication with the brain in a way that impacts healing anywhere in the body.

The practitioner inspects the ear for changes in structure, color, tenderness, and electrical conductance that signifies pain, illness or any other physiological change. The "active" points that relate to the pathology are then treated with a needle or electrical stimulation. This treatment will interrupt the brain's "sick" communication signal, and allow the body to restore its natural balance, thereby correcting the pain and/or illness.

As discussed in the May-June 2012 Newsletter , chronic pain is often perpetuated by a habituated pain cycle, long after the tissues are healed. When this communication signal is interrupted, the body can heal itself and return to a state of balance. Auricular acupuncture is an effective and efficient way to interrupt the pain cycle, thereby decreasing one's level of pain.


After several car accidents, I was struggling with lower back pain due to a herniated disc and pain in my right hip and sacrum. I consulted with several chiropractors and received many treatments over the course of four months' time. During this time I saw slight improvement, but it was rather minimal. I became depressed and hopeless, unable to exercise, sit down for longer than 15 minutes, bend or lift. The only way I could experience comfort was by reclining. Eventually I had to go out on disability, unable to perform the functions of my job.

Willing to try anything, I consulted with Anita Teigen from the Red Clover Clinic. She has helped me in the past with various ailments, and I thought she may have some insight about my current situation. She suggested trying out German auricular acupuncture. I had never heard of this, but she thought it would be particularly helpful because not only could it treat the problem quickly, but she had noticed it tended to clear issues for the long-term, not requiring multiple follow-up visits. I figured I would give it a try. After the first visit, I noticed my pain was reduced slightly. However, it was the second visit that really convinced me.  After the second visit, my level of pain went from a 6 to a 2. I can now sit for hours at a time, bend more easily and even exercise. My range of motion is greatly improved and I am no longer in constant pain. I did not believe this would be possible after four months of chiropractic treatment that led nowhere, but the auricular acupuncture really did the trick for me. 

I am still battling some back issues, but they are nowhere near what they used to be. My life has dramatically improved and I owe that to Anita!  -M.S.

I was really excited about my recent EAR TREATMENT. The pain and stiffness in my neck and low back is very persistent and has been a recurrent challenge for years. I typically handle this problem with acupuncture, chiropractic, and yoga as well as massage. These treatments always feel good, but these areas are still tied up in knots. However, I immediately felt a difference in the pain and stiffness. The area of complaint is now isolated to just the left side. I have way more mobility in my neck and back. It is such a change. I am really looking forward to seeing how follow up treatments will improve not only this area, but others! Woo Hoo! Thanks Anita.  - M.L.

A summer herb walk
Red Clover
The herb red clover is, of course, the namesake of Red Clover Clinic. I am often asked the question: "Why red clover?" 

I have had a fondness for red clover since I was a child. I'm pretty sure that along with dandelions, red clover was one of my first live herb interactions. I remember running through the pasture on my grandparents' farm, picking red clovers and plucking out the individual petals to suck the sweet nectar out of them. I have always thought that red clovers have a joyful, playful energy, so what better name for my clinic? 

Red clover (Trifolium pratense) is a lymphatic herb and is used to treat abnormal swelling.  It is also cool and moistening to dry and irritable tissues.
Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) is a member of the mint family and is one of the most commonly used herbs in my clinic.  It is soothing to highly stressed people, suffering from anxiety, palpitations, and insomnia. It is a heart tonic, and it calms the sympathetic nervous system. Though quite bitter, people really enjoy motherworts soothing effects.
Sweet Leaf
Sweet leaf (Monarda fistulosa) is a wonderful herb that is native to North America. It is known by many names, including wild bergamot, bee balm, and wild oregano. Like motherwort, it is also a member of the mint family.

Sweet leaf is pungent and stimulating, much like its cousin oregano. It is especially useful when the digestion isn't working properly, be it constipation, diarrhea, indigestion, gallbladder congestion, etc. It is also effective in cases of urinary tract infections, both acute and chronic, as well as fevers.

Did you know?
  • Price Increase in September 2012
    In September, I will be raising my prices. That said, this is a great time to buy ahead for your upcoming health care needs. You can take advantage of the three specially-priced packages, or you can pre-pay for as many sessions as you like.
  • I will be speaking at the North Country Herbalists Guild  on November 7, 2012. The title of my talk is "Treat The Pattern Not The Disease: Making Sense Of Signs and Symptoms." More details in the months to come.
  • This is the one-year anniversary of Red Clover Clinic Newsletter! It's been coming to you every other month since last July. I hope you've found the content to be interesting and useful. I'd love to hear any feedback you have the next time I see you, or via e-mail, [email protected]
  • Red Clover Clinic offers acupuncture, botanical medicine, and bodywork Tuesday through Saturday. Evening appointments are available Tuesdays and Thursdays. Make an online appointment or call 612-308-3597.

Red Clover Clinic
2233 N Hamline Ave, Suite 301
Roseville, MN 55113

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