“Embedded within the rigid curves of the external ear are the powerful ear acupuncture points that correspond to every part of the body. This incredible organ, the first of all our organs to develop embryologically, is not only the vehicle for the perception of sound and..but it is also an instrument that fulfills several other equally astonishing functions in the realm of medicine.“ ~ Chinese Auricular Acupuncture, Skya Abbate
Traditional Chinese medicine corrects imbalances in the body through acupuncture, diet and other holistic practices. Just as this ancient healing art defines acupuncture points on the body for treatment of various conditions, similar points are defined on the ear. Known as Auriculotherapy, the concentric folds of the ear have points that correspond to the organs and processes in the body. These points are used to treat pain and alleviate health conditions of the body.
One of the first organs and senses to be formed in the embryo, the ear, is a complete microsystem of the human body, which means it’s a small image of the whole body. French neurologist Paul Nogier believed that the ear is shaped like an upside down human fetus, and the acupuncture points on the ear correspond to the body parts of the fetus shape, with the earlobe representing the head.
Skya Abbate in her book, Chinese Auricular Acupuncture, said, “not only are diagnosis and treatment accomplished through ear acupuncture medicine, but also numerous health disorders can be prevented..”
Out of the 100 ear points, one of the pivotal and master points in this therapy is Shen Men, also referred to as ‘a gateway to heaven’ or the ‘the spirit gate’. Master points are always electrically active in comparison to other points on the ear. Shen Men is located at the apex of the triangular fossa region (the upper mid center of the ear, just above the opening canal & the surrounding concentric folds) of the ear, and used in treating almost all types of ailments, unless otherwise contraindicated.
Benefits of Shen Men
Terry Oleson in his book, Auriculotherapy Medicine stated, “The purpose of Shen Men is to tranquilize the mind and to facilitate a state of harmony and serenity.
This master point alleviates stress, pain, tension, anxiety, depression, insomnia, restlessness and excessive sensitivity. It was one of the first points emphasized for the application of ear acupuncture for the detoxification from addictive drugs and for the treatment of alcoholism and substance abuse.”
- The Earth point (acupuncture) of the Heart Meridian (known as HT 7) is responsible for stimulating the autonomous nervous system, reducing stress, anxiety, combating insomnia and other heart-related issues. Similarly Shen Men has the same energetics as the HT 7 point in terms of grounding, balancing and anchoring the Spirit. “Shen Men quiets the Heart, calms the Spirit, and puts the patient into a state of receptivity for treatment,” mentioned Abbate.Other issues due to stress and anxiety like insomnia, excessive dreaming, tightness in the chest, lack of focus and inability to concentrate and other issues, can be treated by working on this point.
- Another interesting benefit of Shen Men point is, weight loss. Weight gain is often associated with increased anxiety and stress levels. Therefore, by massaging this point one can release all forms of stress and tension and speed up the process of weight loss as well.
- A detoxification point, if regulated timely, can help in overcoming addiction and restlessness in the patients. It directly works on the parasympathetic nervous system and relieves any restlessness or anxiety experienced during the process of overcoming any addiction.
- Skin diseases like pimples, acne, skin itching and breakouts can also be tackled with Shen Men point. It is known to regulate the heat levels in the body & reduce it, which is the major cause of skin diseases.
- Inflammatory diseases such as arthritis in the elderly, joint pain and other inflammatory diseases like irritable bowel syndrome, hepatitis, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, etc. can be treated with this point in addition to the other ways of treatment undertaken by the patients.
- Shen Men is directly connected to eye region and is of great help for people suffering from glaucoma and imperfect eyesight or cataract.
- Shen Men also helps people on their spiritual path, as it calms the mind and aids in meditation, yoga and other modalities pointing towards Zen.
While Shen Men is considered to be an all-pervading point and useful in tackling many ailments, it has few contraindicated diseases. This include bronchitis denoted by phlegm and congestive heart failure issues. Abate adds “The reason why Shen Men is contraindicated for these conditions is because, as a point with Earth energetics, it has a dampening effect. Stimulating Shen Men adds Dampness to these already serious illnesses characterized by Damp.“
How to Practice Shen Men massage at home
- Be seated in a quiet room away from any distraction and start to breathe deeply. Just by thinking about the point Shen Men bring all your awareness inwards. Now, as you inhale and exhale deeply, release all the negativity that is weighing you down just by the intention of releasing it.
- Once you have located the point, use a ear probe or cotton bud, gently place it on the Shen Men point and move it in circular motions clockwise.
- You could also use your little finger to massage the point gently. Try to keep your eyes closed as you experience the circular motion and consciously allow your mind to relax. As you do this, move your head to the left and right as you inhale and exhale respectively, and experience your body calming down gradually.