In the wide spectrum of complementary and alternative healing practices, there are many different ways you can support your dog’s health and vitality. But did you know that better health could be as simple as an ear massage?
It’s one of the most fascinating things that I’ve learned in studying Traditional Chinese Medicine for animals – the fact that the ears are a mini-map of all of the acupuncture points in the entire body. Which means that by massaging the ears, you can actually stimulate and invigorate all of the organs in the body.
While acupuncture on the ear has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine since 500 BC, an entire system of acupuncture built around the points in the ear was developed much more recently. In the 1950’s, Dr. Paul Nogier of France discovered that the ear represents the entire anatomical body – but upside down. He used this revelation to identify specific points to address a variety of health conditions and his new system of treating the whole body via the ear became Auriculotherapy, and influenced acupuncture practitioners all over the world.
We now know that there are at least 200 specific points in and around a dog’s ear, which can help to improve the function of every organ and process within the body including digestion, circulation and respiration. But the great part is that you don’t need to be an expert in all of these points – all you need to do is to take the time to give your pooch a nice ear massage on a regular basis and to watch for the positive results.
While a general, all-over massage of the ear and ear flap will help to relax your dog and improve their vitality, there are two of specific areas worth noting.
Triple Heater Meridian: In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Triple Heater Meridian is a very special channel of energy flow in the body. While most of the other meridians are related to specific organs, the Triple Heater helps to regulate temperature and metabolic function within the body – essentially helping everything to function more efficiently. In a dog’s ear, the Triple Heater Meridian encircles the ear flap.
Shock Point: The tip of the ear is an important acupressure point to be aware of as this is a point you can use to prevent your dog from going into shock. By alternatively pressing on the tip of each ear, you can assist your dog after a trauma or accident, to help relax their system and counter the effects of severe stress. This point can also be helpful following surgery to speed healing.
So, the next time you are cuddling up with your best friend, try introducing them to a full ear massage. If your dog is already a fan of having you rub his ears, it won’t take much to coax them into enjoying regular ear work sessions. But if they ear sensitive about their ears or are not used to you touching them there, be sure to start slowly and generally increase the amount of time and pressure that you use while massaging that area. In either case, devoting regular time to massaging your dogs ears is a great way to strengthen your bond and help them to feel better – from head to tail.