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So What Exactly Is Ear Seeding?
“Ear seeding has its roots in acupuncture, the ancient Chinese therapy that works on the theory that blockages in the flow of our energy can cause health problems, and that fine needles inserted into certain points on the body can release blocked energy. Ear seeding – also known as auriculotherapy – works in a similar way. Ear seeds apply gentle acupressure to specific points on the ear to restore and maintain inner balance. They’re designed to free the flow of energy – or qi – through your body and bring proven, day-to-day relief for symptoms including back pain and anxiety.” – Cassandra Hawthorne, Chinese medicine practitioner & founder of Re+Cultivate
Why The Ears?
“Pressure points have long been associated with the hands and feet, but there are over 200 points on your ears, too. In fact, the World Health Organisation has recognised 39 of these points as effective for relieving pain, calming the mind and aiding certain symptoms.” – Ada Ooi, traditional Chinese medicine practitioner & founder of 001 Skincare
And How Exactly Does It Work?
“It’s similar to acupuncture but instead of a needle, a small seed is applied to a specific point on the ear to stimulate an acupressure point. For example, the liver point on the ear corresponds with your liver, while the endocrine point of the ear corresponds with your hormonal system, and so on. From a Chinese medicine perspective, the human body is an energetic system for healing. This energetic system is known as qi, which flows through the body along meridians and channels passing through all major organs. Disruption to this harmonious flow of qi can affect the internal conditions that lead to a particular disease. Stimulating specific points of the ear with ear seeds can re-establish the normal flow of qi and maintain the energetic balance of the body in order to help treat and prevent disease.” – Cassandra
How Do You Use Them?
“Ear seeds can be applied professionally by a qualified practitioner or self-applied at home. Pressing lightly on the ear seed a couple of times a day will activate the pressure point and stimulate the nervous system. For the best results, wear your ear seeds for five days, then take a break for a couple of days before reapplying. This ensures your acupressure points don’t become desensitised.” – Cassandra
What Are The Benefits?
“The conditions ear seeding can treat are endless. Plus, no two experiences are the same. There are several studies that show ear seeding can help support the release of natural endorphins, which in turn can boost your mood and help overcome or manage some of the challenges associated with pain, insomnia and anxiety. They can also help with back pain, can support weight loss and can provide support in managing grief, trauma and PTSD. Plus, there is a low risk of side effects.” – Cassandra
“If you find it hard to unwind, ear seeds could help. A lot of research has shown that when certain points on the ears are stimulated, it releases similar brain waves to when you are relaxed. Studies suggest this can also work through the nervous system to help with stress as well as chronic pain, migraines and mental health management.” – Ada
Is There Any Science Behind It?
“There have been some interesting studies into acupressure on the ears. For example, one study found it is effective in treating acute pain, including lower back pain and abdominal pain when combined with other interventions, regardless of the pain intensity. Meanwhile, a review on obesity and weight that pooled data from seven studies concluded ear seeding alone or in combination with diet and exercise is effective for weight reduction.” – Cassandra
Can You Do It At Home?
“Yes – ear seeds are completely safe to use at home. Most home kits come with an ear map, which identifies the acupoints for application. The only disadvantage of applying them at home is that it’s easy to place the seed in the wrong spot, although the only outcome of this is that it won’t work in quite the way you want it to. Ear seeds are easy to apply yourself, although I find most of my patients appreciate the support and guidance of a practitioner during the early stages.” – Cassandra
Are There Any Risks Involved?
“There are minimal side effects associated with ear seeding as the seeds are non-invasive and don’t puncture the skin. Potential side effects usually come down to overstimulation of the points or rough application, which can cause discomfort or skin irritation to the local area. At the same time, ear seeds shouldn’t be used on small children due to the potential of an ear seed getting dislodged in the ear canal.” – Cassandra
How To Get Started?
“If you want to try ear seeding for yourself, you can’t go wrong with the Shen Men acupoint, found slightly inward and slightly upwards from the tip of the triangular fossa. This one point alone can provide a feeling of harmony, serenity and a deeper connection to oneself. It also helps alleviate stress, pain, tension, anxiety, depression and insomnia. It’s particularly effective during times of intense pressure.” – Cassandra
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