If, like me you keep hearing or noticing the term ‘ear seeds’ mentioned and are wondering what these are and what they can do for us, then keep reading!
Don’t worry, this is not a strange way to grow something by inserting actual seeds into our ears, it is an ancient Chinese relation of acupuncture and acupressure, hailing under the natural treatment heading of auriculotherapy which refers to non-invasive treatment focusing on the ear. The same principles of their aforementioned Chinese cousins apply – that our health relies strongly on our being as an entirety and that can be measured by our qi / chi / energy flow which runs along our meridian lines throughout the body; and, therefore present within the ears. Different areas of our ears correspond to different organs and systems within the body. Stimulating these parts can treat ailments in those various organs and systems. Due to the ear having limited access due to its size, the concept of ear seeds provides a way to stimulate the pressure points around it.
Ear seeds – what kind of seeds are we talking about?
Originally they were actually seeds from the Vaccaria plant which are taped to specific points around the ear. These are still available but modern versions of the same can be made from ceramic or metals and are widely available to purchase online.
The potential health benefits of ear seeds:
- Relieves chronic pain
- Eases lower back pain
- Improves sleep patterns
- Eases depression, anxiety and stress
- Helps with addiction
- Aids weight loss
- Relieves migraines and headaches
- It is also claimed to help with infertility.
It is possible to self-treat when it comes to ear seeds but there are obviously trained professionals who you may wish to visit first before attempting this at home. You would first need to address the issues you are focussing on and then pinpoint (literally) the correct pressure points which relate to these areas of the body within the ear. You need to then learn these exact points if you are going to attempt this yourself as well as how to properly place the seeds.
Often people use the seeds between visits to the acupuncturist or acupressurist to maintain the effectivity of their treatment.
How to try this at home:
- Identify the problem you are focussing the treatment on; a migraine, lower back pain, for example. Locate the correct pressure point relating to the organ or bodily system this corresponds to.
- Clean your ear and dry it thoroughly, the seeds must always be placed around the external parts of the ear and should never venture in to the ear canal.
- Find the exact pressure point you need to apply the seed to and place one on it using tweezers and press to secure; usually the seeds come with adhesive tape pre-attached and so you have to be careful not to come into contact with the sticky side or it will lose its strength. If applied correctly the seeds can remain for up to five days but shouldn’t be left any longer than this. Remove the seeds carefully being sure to tilt the head so no seeds can fall into the ear canal.
- Once in place you can gently massage the seeds two or three times a day or when symptoms of your specified issue arise. Press and gently move in a circular motion for a few minutes.
- Once removed allow a day for the ear to rest before reapplying.
- If you notice any adverse reactions such as itchiness or swelling then simply remove the seed.
Does it really work?
There is skepticism as to the effectivity of the concept of ear seeds, however traditional Chinese medicine has used it alongside other therapies for thousands of years and at the moment it is certainly trending in the health world. The lack of scientific research, as usual, is the backbone to any negative feedback as there are plenty of people who claim to have had amazing results, generally alongside regular acupuncture and acupressure treatments, to suggest that ear seeds really do work.
There have been studies, especially focused on lower back pain, where after having used the ear seed treatment pain was significantly reduced and mobility increased in most of the participants. A similar study based on insomniacs showed similarly positive results.
This is a non-invasive, generally safe procedure that can be effectively carried out at home. It could be worth a try if you’re suffering from ailments that acupuncture or acupressure could be of help to, as it is a cost-effective form of self-medication. Be sure to test your skin for allergies to any of the seed types you may try prior to applying the treatment. Other side effects reported are nausea, lethargy, and dizziness. Take care not to over-massage the seeds as this may cause irritation. Pregnant women are advised to consult their GP prior to trying ear seeds as it is possible to induce early labour by manipulating certain pressure points.
Online diploma course in Acupressure
Here at the School of Natural Health Sciences we offer a diploma course in Acupressure. Acupressure is the application of pressure to the body to enhance the flow of energy in the 12 main bi-lateral meridians, according to the principles of Oriental medicine. Acupressure is believed to be the ‘Mother of Acupuncture’, in that it predates the use of needles to stimulate the body’s energy flow. Stimulation of the body’s meridian system by touch is perhaps one of the oldest and most effective healing systems.
Our course is open to both practicing therapists and individuals who have an interest to learn this skill and become qualified.