Auriculotherapy, or auricular therapy, or ear acupuncture, or auriculoacupuncture is a form of alternative medicine based on the idea that the ear is a microsystem of the entire body represented on the auricle, the outer portion of the ear. Ailments of the entire body are assumed to be treatable by stimulation of the surface of the ear exclusively. Similar mappings are used in reflexology and iridology.
Auricular acupuncture writers often make the claim that the method goes back to early Chinese sources. In fact, there are only a few references in Chinese medicine texts that make that reference plausible. The main claims are that the Han Dynasty book Huangdi Neijing states that the kidneys open in the ears, so that superfluous substances of the kidneys are deposited in the ears, making the ears an instrument of diagnosis. Also the same text states that many channels (Jingluomai/meridians) exit in the ear.
Auriculotherapy was developed by the French neurologist Paul Nogier in 1957 using a phrenological method of projection of a fetal Homunculus on the ear for reference of complaints and points for treatment. The method is an offshoot of Phrenology.
Chinese acupuncturists who developed many similar kinds of micro puncture, such as nose acupuncture, index finger acupuncture, toe acupuncture, and nipple acupuncture, quickly picked up Auriculotherapy.