The author of this book, Manfred Angermaier, has a medical background, initially as a surgeon working in general and trauma surgery before studying and practising Chinese medicine. He has lectured in Chinese medicine since 1997 with the emphasis on auricular acupuncture, his special interest. The book offers his extensive knowledge and experience for acupuncturists as well as other complementary health practitioners interested in using auricular acupuncture as part of their practice.
The book is set out systematically for the practical application of auricular acupuncture with over 300 clear, detailed illustrations that show the locations of the auricular points. There is a succinct introduction and history of auricular acupuncture with advice for setting up a practice and the recommended equipment to use. A chapter follows on how to locate ear points using different methods. The RAC palpation is favoured here and described well. There follows an extensive chapter on laser therapy with lists of frequencies, which is not an area I'm familiar with. The diagnostic and therapeutic principles section discusses the initial consultation with the patient and interestingly includes the author's views on interference fields/blocks to treatment, i.e. tooth infections, amalgam fillings, ear jewellery, etc. plus needles that refuse to stay in the point - a common phenomenon of auricular acupuncture, and something that students and practitioners comment on (and ask about) frequently.
The chapter on point location is divided into different systems of the body, i.e. the musculoskeletal system, hormonal system, spine, etc. and mapping the points accordingly. The illustrations are clear and easy to use and show the French (Nogier) and Chinese points in red and black respectively. I was puzzled by the section on 'extra points' as there was no explanation as to why the points listed are extra points. I would be interested to know as I am familiar with quite a few of the points listed in this category, i.e. 'point zero', 'hunger point'. There was no mention of the master points/primary points of the ear. Although the master points are listed, they are not described as such, as they are by other authors such as Terry Oleson. These examples reflect the differences commonly found in auricular acupuncture texts.
Under this section there are chapters on new point locations named 'after' various authors of auricular acupuncture, presumably discovered in the same manner as Dr Paul Nogier, predominantly using RAC palpation. In this category there are chakra points listed which I haven't come across before, discovered by Dr Frank Bahr, himself a student of Nogier. Equally fascinating are points Dr Bahr has located that erase the memory of pathology in the inner organs once the symptoms have resolved, i.e. CNS memory for the lungs, CNS memory for the kidneys, etc.
The differences in point locations of various schools of auricular acupuncture are shown plus 'individual specialities of various schools'. This is a good thing as students inevitably ask about the differences in some point locations they have come across. One point I couldn't find in this text however is the allergy point, which I commonly use to great effect in the treatment of hay fever. A histamine point is listed here which is used for allergic diseases but is in a slightly different location!
There is a whole chapter dedicated to the treatment of pain (in my experience auricular acupuncture is incredibly effective for this), then a chapter on a wide variety of other indications such as cardiovascular disorders, allergic diseases, gastrointestinal disorders; the list is extensive. The author gives point prescriptions (French and Chinese), frequency of treatment advised, plus expected course of treatment and prognosis. There is hardly any discussion on functions of points as in other texts. The contexts of use are instead laid out in the author's description of symptoms/conditions and the points prescribed to treat them. I like the advice that fewer points are stronger as too many points used in treatment can dilute the effect. Following this there is a chapter on case studies where the author discusses his use of both body and auricular acupuncture for patients with various conditions. A TCM diagnosis is given plus treatment principles and examples of body and auricular points used. This is a very useful addition for acupuncturists who would like to start incorporating auricular points in their treatments. Finally there are plenty of references to current research studies using auricular acupuncture.
The beauty of ear acupuncture lies in the simplicity of application. Although this book may look pretty dense with information, the emphasis is on the very careful, accurate illustrations. It is methodical and well laid out for ease of use. I found it easier to find and locate auricular points than in other similar texts. If you are looking for a practical working handbook which is not heavy on theory and good value for money, this is for you. This is definitely a book I will have in my practice.
(Reviewed by Rachel Peckham, Vol. 7 No. 6)
Rachel Peckham has been in practice as an acupuncturist since 1993 and works in West London. Rachel worked for several years as an acupuncturist and clinical supervisor at the Core Trust, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre in London. Her special interest there was the delivery and co-ordination of the group auricular acupuncture treatment, the NADA protocol. Part of her MSc award involved a study examining the benefits of the NADA protocol at the Core Trust. Rachel is a trustee and trainer for NADA-UK.