‘Ear seeds’ are seeds placed on your ear to serve as tiny acupressure devices. It is also called auriculotherapy – a Traditional Chinese Medicine technique that focuses on areas in your ear, like foot reflexology which focuses on areas in the foot. With Over 200 acupressure points, the ear is a microsystem of the entire body. These seeds traditionally come from a flower called vaccaria but can also be made of stainless steel or gold-plated magnet. They are placed and held in place by waterproof tape on the external ear over certain acupuncture points for up to 5 days.
Auriculotherapy is non-invasive and can be used as a standalone treatment or along with other modalities such as massage, Gua Sha, acupuncture and herbal medicine to enhance treatment efficacy and prolong in-between treatment sessions.
How ‘Ear Seeds’ Work?
After cleaning the ear with an alcohol swab, a practitioner places the seeds on the acupressure points on the ear. You massage them by applying gentle pressure to the seeds and move them in small circles, up to 5 times a day. You may feel some tenderness or warmth as these seeds promote the release of natural endorphins, “feel-good” chemicals in your body.
Health Benefits of Ear Seeds
Various studies show auriculotherapy may help patients to manage a range of symptoms including pain, stress, fatigue, and other conditions such as:
• Substance abuse
• Pain, numbness, and tingling from chemotherapy
• Lower back pain
• Weight loss
• Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Chinese medicine is generally considered to be safe but occasionally (as with all health treatments) may be associated with possible adverse reactions in individual cases (AHPRA, 2020). You may experience minor symptoms such as, discomfort or skin irritation around the seeds, dizziness, or sleepiness.