Q: I'm 16 and would like to get some piercings in the ear (one rim on the right ear and one scaffold on the left). Obviously, I'm concerned about the acupuncture points in the ear. Is it safe ? I've contacted the piercer who told me that "It might cause an interference once pierced but it is only temporary. Your body will heal and re-route and restore meridian points to make up for damage so that you can function normally". Is it true ?
A: This is an extremely good question! Unfortunately, we do not have a precise answer, partly because ear/auricular acupuncture is not central to the traditional acupuncture lineage, having been developed more in Europe over the last fifty years on the basis of points used occasionally in traditional treatment. The generally received wisdom is that in the vast majority of cases there is no problem arising from ear piercings. However, it would be very difficult to gather meaningful information because we would only rarely see people who had either just had ear piercings or were in the middle of a course of treatment and had their ears pierced. The usual professional view is that there may be a short term affect because of the formation of scar tissue around the piercing site, but this would only be short term as the energies re-route around the hole. Since the piercing is complete, i.e. from side to side, there is no likelihood of there being a constant stimulus from an earring or stud. We find the same with body piercings like navel studs; there is no evidence suggesting that this is causing a continuing energetic reaction. You would be well advised, however, to address this question to the Society of Auricular Acupuncturists whose members specialise in ear acupuncture and may have had to field this question many more times than we have. They can be contacted at http://www.auricularacupuncturecollege.com/saac/
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