Acupunct Med 28:169-173 doi:10.1136/aim.2009.002196
  • Original papers

Ear acupoint detection before and after hysteroscopy: is it possible to clarify the representation of the uterus on the outer ear?

Editor's Choice
  1. Chiara Benedetto2
  1. 1Italian Society of Acupuncture, Reflexotherapy and Auriculotherapy, Prato, Italy
  2. 2Service for Acupuncture in Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, University of Turin, Turin, Italy
  3. 3Department of Statistics, University of Florence, Florence, Italy
  1. Correspondence to Professor Gianni Allais, Service for Acupuncture in Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, University of Turin, Turin I-10137, Italy; gb.allais{at}
  • Accepted 1 September 2010
  • Published Online First 5 October 2010


Background In the auricular maps introduced over the past 50 years by the French and Chinese schools, most organs and systems overlap consistently. One exception is the reproductive system, which shows a markedly different somatotopic representation—for example, for the uterus and the ovary.

Objective To identify the distribution of points with increased tenderness to pressure or with reduced electrical resistance, on the outer ear of a group of women undergoing hysteroscopy.

Methods For diagnostic purposes the auricles of 78 women were examined before and after hysteroscopy using a pain–pressure test and electrical skin resistance test. The points identified were transcribed onto a graphic system called Sectogram. Spatial cluster analysis was used to identify the statistically significant clusters of sectors with a higher concentration of points appearing after hysteroscopy.

Results The points identified after hysteroscopy tend to be concentrated in specific areas not previously recognised and which only partially overlap with the French and Chinese representation of the uterus.

Conclusion When auricular acupuncture is applied to reduce discomfort during hysteroscopy, particular attention must be paid when choosing the points/areas to be stimulated, which are not only those indicated in the Chinese or French maps.


  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the institutional review board of the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, University of Turin, Turin, Italy.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.