The Ear: “A Portal for Peace”
— Mitchell Elkiss, DO, AAMA Board of Directors
September 8-10, 2023, I attended the 11th International Symposium on Auriculotherapy in beautiful Copenhagen. The subject was “Auriculotherapy Meets the Field of Psychology.” The symposium also addressed functional disorders, like irritable bowel disease (IBD) and Long-COVID.
Congress president, Stephen Porges, PhD, spoke on the polyvagal theory, ventral vagal association with functions of sucking, swallowing, breathing, and vocalizing enabling development of a social engagement network.
Sue Carter, PhD, spoke on the role of Oxytocin as critical mediator of vagal influences on social engagement. Oxytocin and Vasopressin represent another stress mediating axis.
When safe and trusting sociality occurs, Oxytocin is represented. When stress and uncertainty, Vasopressin predominates. In PTSD patients, she found elevated Vasopressin and depleted Oxytocin.
The other pre-Symposium workshop was live with Daniel Asis, MD, who used yellow light (chromotherapy) on the Amygdala and Hippocampus points for dealing with psychologic trauma, phobias, and panic disorder in his patients.
Other highlights included:
- Raphael Nogier, MD, did a workshop on using the réflexe auriculo cardiaque (RAC) in the treatment of depression.
- I gave a workshop on advanced Auricular Trauma Protocol (ATP) for stress, insomnia, pain, and dependency.
- Yori Gidron, MD, showed value in vagal HRV biofeedback in Ukrainian forced migrants.
- Kajsa Landgren, RN, showed evidence for using NADA in addiction, anxiety, depression, and sleeping problems within a psychiatric setting.
- Our own, Gary Stanton, MD, closed the show with an erudite discussion of Shen Men and the Cosmonaut point.
Ears were treated with magnets, seeds, beads, straight needles, semi-permanent indwelling needles, intradermal, subdermal, and permanent indwelling needles that dissolve over time. They used LASER light and colored light, and stimulation frequency modulation.
I left feeling that trauma is ubiquitous, and the polyvagal theory helps explain the essential autonomic imbalance associated with psychologic disturbances, such as anxiety, depression, and disturbed sleep. Trauma-informed care is rational.
Across the world, we are suffering the same. The primary treatments consisted of various ways of boosting vagal tone, reducing sympathetic tone, and dealing with limbic level disturbances directly. The ear can be a powerful portal to peace.