David Maybee – German Auricular Acupuncture Interview
Q: In your opinion, what are the advantages of auricular medicine compared to other styles of acupuncture?
DM: As each style and method of acupuncture has its unique benefits, Auricular Medicine has the benefit of allowing the practitioner to directly access the patient’s central nervous system. Auricular opens the gateway to the CNS in a precise way in which the practitioner can assess and treat not only symptoms, but also the deeper causes of those symptoms.
Q: The Canadian Institute of Auricular Medicine (CIAM) teaches Bahr system of auricular medicine. How is this system different from the French one (Nogier) and the Chinese one (Li-Chun Huang)?
DM: The system developed by Dr. Bahr has left behind the 3-phase system of the French Auricular. This can be very complex to learn and we feel is not necessary to assess and treat with precision. We do not mean to say that any other system is wrong, only that we prefer the simple precision and clear effectiveness of the Bahr system. The main benefit to the system we teach is the ability to identify and PRIORITIZE blockages to healing, allowing the practitioner to treat less points and be more effective. The current Chinese Auricular system is typically used as an adjunct to TCM body points and clearly has a more TCM approach. Again, not wrong, but distinct from our approach which is based more in bringing to balance the neurophysiology of the patient.
Q: The CIAM is surprisingly the only institution in the world to teach in English the system of Bahr. How did it arrive in Canada?
DM: My mother, an adult educator and a PhD in Energy Medicine, was introduced to this system by her partner, a retired MD. She went to a presentation in Las Vegas given by Dr. Beate Strittmatter in 1999 and fell in love with the medicine. She decided to arrange for Beate to come to Canada to teach – soon my mother was teaching it and practicing it. Beate now fully endorses and sends people to our program saying that Canada is the best place to learn the VAS (Nogier Pulse).
Q: In your experience, what is this system best at treating? Usually how often do you see your patients (let’s say for chronic LPB, IBS, PCOS) ? Can you expect results in 1-3 sessions? How long is a session and how long do the benefits of a treatment last?
DM: This system can, in theory, treat any condition. This is because of its ability to directly read and influence the brain, which controls everything from pain to hormones to mental health. The most common condition I treat is chronic pain, but that is likely because the condition is so common. I also often treat hormonal imbalance, digestive issues, insomnia, addictions and anxiety to name a few other conditions. I have also used the medicine to induce labour and often use it to find food intolerances, deficiencies and toxicities – a very diverse medicine!
I ask my patients at the beginning to commit to 3 treatments before we decide if we will continue, because at that stage I have a good idea if we need to do any more or not. There is often significant relief after only 1 treatment. However, because we are working with a brain that loves habitual patterns the neurons go back to where they were before. So even if there is relief of the condition, I bring the patient back to reinforce the treatment at least a few more times so the condition doesn’t return. If I was to do only 1 treatment, the relief would last a few days maybe, then start to revert back to the old pattern. But even if I was to not treat them again, they would still be better than before they came.
Q: German Auricular Medicine (GAM) has a big toolkit (pointfinder, Nogier hammers, battery bars, ampules…), but can this technique be used with just needles and to which extend?
DM: Yes there are a lot of tools in this medicine and mostly they are used to get the most specific information about the meaning of an active ear point. For example, if I simply find an active point by pressing on the ear with a piece of wood and looking for tenderness, I could treat that point and have a very successful result. But if I want to know if that point is more or less important than another one, I can use a point finder, or even better, the VAS to determine which is the most important. If I want to know if this active shoulder point has a psychological element to it, I can use the VAS while applying a frequency to find the point to give me more information. So in its simplest form, you could use this medicine if you were lost in the woods with no tools and be very effective. But as you develop your skills clinically with Auricular, you will find that having the ability to search more specifically allows for a more profound and elegant treatment and you will help patients who are therapy resistant with much ease.
Q: In your clinic, do you often combine GAM with other treatment modalities?
DM: I am also a manual therapist. I am trained as a massage therapist and use mostly subtle manual techniques, like cranial-sacral therapy and myofascial release. These manual modalities work very well in combination with Auricular. In fact a release that might normally take 3 treatments using only myofascial, now may release easily in one treatment because of the combination with Auricular. This is because the ear points send a message to the brain to release tension and decrease inflammation. The resistance of the body is much less after the ear points are treated. You can also combine Auricular with other modalities, but the caution is that you don’t do too much at one time. The Auricular Medicine on its own it quite powerful, especially because we are finding the deeper meaning points. So if you combine modalities, we advise to simply reinforce what you have done with Auricular. So if you treat the hip are on the ear, working on the hip with a manual therapy is just fine. But it is best to avoid, for example, treating the hip on the ear and then doing work on the neck and shoulders with manual therapy.
Q: Something that seems to be a turn-off for a lot of people is that it appears like you need to remember a lot of different point combinations to treat different disorders. Is it all about remembering point combinations or can a practitioner learn to make up their own combos based on individual diagnosis?
DM: This is truly the beauty of this system of Auricular, we move away from recipes applied based on diagnosis. Instead we learn the ear map and we learn how to find ACTIVE POINTS. We can have an idea of what points will likely be active based on the condition a patient comes in with. If they have IBS, it is likely that some digestive points will show up, likely in the colon area, but that doesn’t tell us where exactly in the colon. It also doesn’t tell us what other areas of the body or mind might be adding stress to the patient and maintaining the condition. With this systemic approach we can find exactly which colon point is active and what other factors are involved and need treatment. We can do this by assessing the individual as a person with a unique story and without having to know their whole story and try to figure out what the priority is for treatment based on what they tell us. That is a lot of pressure – lifted!
German Auricular Acupuncture Seminar, Amsterdam
This seminar is for practitioners who have hard to treat patients with stubborn pain or who simply want to have a uniquely effective approach in their toolkit! If you want to learn another extremely effective microsystem then this seminar is for you! Come join us in Amsterdam from April 11th-14th 2019! Limited seats available, sign up now!