Pulse of Oriental Medicine: Alternative Medicine That Works for Regular Folks
Alternative Medicine That Works for Regular Folks











Daughter's Ear Piercing and Mom's Bladder Urgency
By Brian Benjamin Carter, MSci, LAc

Brian is an author of international renown and public speaker. He is currently writing his book Chinese Medicine: A Practical Guide to Optimal Healing. Brian practices acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine in sunny San Diego, California.
Hi Brian,

I have two unrelated questions for you. Firstly, my 11 year old daughter would like to get her ears pierced. Our homeopathic practitioner believes that there are certain acupuncture points in her ear that can cause seemingly unrelated issues such as a change in eyesight if her ears are pierced. Are you aware of any problems such as these?

My second questions is regarding bladder urgency. I have a very unstable bladder and frequent bouts of urgency in a day. I have tried the western medicines, acupuncture and homeopathy with no cure from any of the above. Do you have any suggestions on what might cure this problem?

Thanks in advance for your response!

Ahh, the ear piercing is a very interesting question- there are definitely points on the ear that have a specific effect on the body.

And there are those who believe that ear piercing will have a similiar effect to inserting an acupuncture needle into them. It sounds plausible to me... but the real question is: is the stimulation to the point temporary (until the ear adjusts and the inflammation goes away), or permanent? Either is possible, but the former seems more likely to me. But we just don't know.

Since it is indeed possible, you may want to take it into account. That means choosing which part of the ear to pierce very carefully. Also, different metals have different effects. Gold is stimulating, and silver is sedating.

So, for example, if your daughter has eye problems, she could put a gold earring into the eye point, which is just about the center of the ear lobe. On the other hand, a silver earring there could theoretically make her eyes even worse. On the other hand, if she had chronically red eyes, that could be the result of an excess condition, which should be sedated, and so silver would be better.

Here is a map of the ear points.

This only represents one system- there are at least 3 maps of the ear points.

You can see that the lobe (below the intertragic notch, which is the curved indentation below the ear hole/entrance) is divided into 9 parts. The middle one is the eye, already mentioned. Above that is the tongue point, which helps in tongue inflammation and an inability to speak that comes from nervousness. Tonsil #4 (the square below the eye square) is for tonsillitis and sore throats [silver would be best here]. Internal ear is for (ear-related) vertigo, ringing in the ears, and deafness. Though not on the diagram I referenced, the square back from (to the right of, on the left ear)the tongue square is Maxilla, which is good for toothache, swollen gums, stiff jaw, mouth ulcers, and lymph swelling under the jaw [again silver is best].

For better reccommendations that fit your daughter's health, see an acupuncturist who can take her whole case, plus their knowledge of ear (auricular) acupuncture, and help you decide.

Bladder Urgency

Of course, there can be numerous causes (and even with a super-detailed explanation from you, one on one consultations are best), including bladder infection, but also the natural change in the angle of the ureter from pregnancy, and weakness of urinary muscles with age.

In the former case, there are herbal solutions that can help when even antibiotics don't work. In the latter case, you can try acupuncture, herbs that lift and improve musculature (for prolapse), and perhaps even kegel exercises.

If it's some other cause, or a situations that requires acupuncture and herbs, you'll need a personal diagnosis- so perhaps your daughter and you should both see an acupuncturist- find one who knows auricular acupuncture, and also has experience with urgency and incontinence.

In the meantime, just for your information, Philippe Sionneau (in his book, Treatment of Disease in Chinese Medicine Vol 6) covers a Chinese medicine disease called xiao bian pin shuo, or frequent urination. He mentions 7 different types (but one of them is too obscure to explain). Each has associated symptoms and specific causes:

1. Damp heat in the Bladder: Dark-colored urine, burning urination, thirst without desire to drink. This can be from too much sweet, fatty, spicy, hot foods, or alcohol. Or, poor genital hygiene can allow for invasion of "foul turbid evils." Not a pretty picture. That basically means infections. That's why they say, "wipe from front to back." Heat forces the urine out.

2. Liver qi depression and binding: Unsatisying urination, rib-side discomfort, easily angered. Emotional upset, stress, and frustration can lead to qi stagnation, which alters fluid flow, leading to dampness. This dampness can pour downward, leading to frequent desire to urinate. Because the qi isn't flowing freely, the urine is nor properly or completely discharged.

3. Blood stasis obstructing internally: Purple, dark-colored turbid urination, pain worse with pressure. Blood stasis comes from external or internal trauma, or from overwork/over-exercise. Just as with the qi stagnation above, fluid cannot flow properly.

4. Kidney yin vacuity: Vertigo, ear ringing, dry throat, red cheeks, insomnia, low back and knee soreness and weakness, sweating while sleeping. This can be due to constitutional (genetic) insufficiency, too much sex, aging, or long-term disease. When Kidney yin is deficient, the Kidney qi can't hold the urine in. Plus, yin deficiency (not enough cooling, passive properties) leads to a deficient heat, which forces the urine out.

5. Kidney qi not secure: Long, clear urination, possibly urinating during sleep, bright white facial complexion, dizziness, ear ringing, weak low back and knees, cold limbs. Aging, immaturity (natural bedwetting phase), too much sex, and long-term disease can cause this. Kidney qi is supposed to hold the urine in, but it is too weak.

6. Lung-spleen qi vacuity: Long, clear urination, pale lips, coughing, dizziness, stuffy sensation in chest, fatigue, cold body, dull mentally, low appetite, loose stool. Long-term disease, bad diet, too much worry and grief, or overwork can lead to this. Each of these organs has an important role in fluid metabolism and transportation. Their weakness leads to fluids pouring downward to overflow in the Bladder.

All the best!

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