Advice Blog / About

Marriage Counseling and Stress Reduction: Why Ears?

How Your Ears Could Help Your Marriage

I want to introduce you to a concept you may not be familiar with: no-needle auriculotherapy for marriage counseling stress reduction. Your ears, just like the rest of your body, have energy or treatment paths related to all parts of your body and mind. Your ears and their treatment points are not usually associated with marriage counseling.

Acupuncturists use needles to stimulate points on these paths to treat mostly physical problems. Auriculotherapists use mild electrical currents, pressure, and magnetic fields to stimulate points in the ear, for pain management and often for psychological and emotional symptoms. Auriculotherapy is used as an adjunct treatment by some dentists, physicians, acupuncturists, psychologists, and a few other professionals. I use auriculotherapy as an adjunct to marriage counseling for stress reduction and other psychological needs.

Electro-magnetic Fields in the Ear

The treatment paths in your ears change the electrical conductance of your skin depending on your state of health. The electrical conductance of these points can be measured with the appropriate instrument.

My original training in ear points was under the auspices of Dr. Michael Smith at the Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in New York City. When I wanted more advanced methods of utilizing this treatment, I took training from another psychologist, Dr. Terry Oleson of Los Angeles, CA. He was part of one of the early research teams to demonstrate the effectiveness and relationships of the treatment paths to parts of the brain and body. He is also the author of the most prominent English book in the field and one of the leading trainers in auriculotherapy in the United States.

Accolades and Research Results of Ear Treatment Points

The Maryland Acupuncture Society, Inc., advertised a lecture by Dr. Oleson in 2007 with the following description: “Many individuals are surprised to learn that auriculotherapy can not only be just as clinically effective as body acupuncture and/or acupressure, but also can relieve pain and tension much more rapidly than stimulation of the classical acupuncture meridians.”

Dr. Oleson and Richard J. Kroeuning M.D., Ph.D., did a double-blind study at the Department of Anesthesiology at UCLA’s School of Medicine. Reported in the April, 1980 edition of PAIN, a medical journal, the study verified the scientific accuracy of ear diagnosis. Their results demonstrated a level of 75% diagnostic accuracy.

Your Brain and Your Emotions

For every emotion you have there is corresponding electro-chemical activity in your brain and elsewhere. These include responses such as nerve impulses, brain structure activity, hormonal activity, and neurotransmitter production and inhibition. These affect your emotional state, stress level and the resources you bring to your marriage.

The entire body and the brain are mapped on the ear, along with endocrine glands or hormonal centers and other neurological and electro-chemical activities. This mapping provides the auriculotherapist the opportunity to encourage balance in parts of the brain and body that could be contributing to emotional problems. For example, the amygdala is one part of the brain related to emotional responses including anger and fear. There are associated points on the ear surface map. Stimulating these amygdaloid points encourages the balancing of energy in these brain structures. Similarly, one of the most commonly used ear points is the sympathetic nervous system, which is associated with the fight-flight-freeze response. This point, as you might imagine, is usually part of protocols used to calm stress-related anxieties, and has other related functions.

Medications Affect the System

If you are taking prescribed medications to impact your emotional or thinking state, I recommend you continue the medications and use the auriculotherapy as an adjunct treatment. Some people are able to reduce or even eliminate some medications after a number of auriculotherapy treatments. Any changes in medication dosages should only be after consulting with the prescribing physician.

Some Common Uses of Auriculotherapy in Marriage Counseling

When I teach couples anger management skills, occasionally someone will have difficulty thinking before acting because that person feels so immediately taken over by anger. Depending on the severity of response, I recommend using auriculotherapy to help manage these feelings.

When one or both partners is stressed out too much to have a relaxed date or evening with each other, I would try auriculotherapy for stress reduction before recommending medications. Often, it’s all that is needed.

Sometimes one person is reluctant to speak with the other about substantive matters. There are times when administering auriculotherapy for anxiety reduction frees up that person to talk over difficult matters. The possibilities are too numerous to give a comprehensive list. This sampling is to give you an idea of the possibilities.

You have questions?
I have answers.

I invite you to call and ask. I have been helping couples since the 1970’s and, with or without auriculotherapy, I can probably help you overcome your difficulties. The choice is yours. I look forward to working with you.

My warmest wishes for you to create a wonderful marriage together,