The US Air Force – while not renowned for its alternative lifestyle – made a decision to train fifty military doctors in acupuncture, in an effort to help wounded soldiers.While there is still much debate on how acupuncture works, one of the leading theories is that it affects the neural pathways to the brain. Anatomically, the most powerful acupuncture points are in close proximity to an abundance of nerve receptors, usually on the hands and feet. What is so interesting about Dr Niemtzow's technique is that instead of inserting acupuncture needles into the limbs, he stimulated points in the ear of his patients.Auricular acupuncture was originally introduced by Dr Nogier in the early 1950s. Nogier developed a map of the ear based on the inverted foetus concept used in reflexology. According to this theory, the area corresponding to the head is located in the earlobe. The zone associated with the spine and back is along the posterior ridge of the ear, and the feet and hands are positioned along the anterior and posterior area of the apex. When treating a patient suffering from head symptoms, for example, needles will be inserted in the earlobe, which is the zone corresponding to the head.Dr Niemtzow’s battlefield method selects five points on the outer ear, according to the location of the symptoms. The auricular points are stimulated for three to four days. In most cases, very short acupuncture needles are used, or even small pellets or seeds applied with tape and pressed to continually stimulate the points. These pellets can be worn comfortably under the soldier's helmet during the day without discomfort and are an option for patients who prefer not to use needles.The use of acupuncture in pain relief, has the advantage of avoiding potential side effects associated with painkillers, and also gives the battlefield doctors a better assessment of the degree and severity of injury than is possible with drugs that numb the area and mask the symptoms.Ear acupuncture is one of the techniques Endeavour Acupuncture students learn within their studies and apply within their clinical training.