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Many patients in my practice tend to walk out of my office with their ears adorned with small gold beads in their ears. But it isn’t an accessory, they are ear seeds which is actually a form of Auriculotherapy, a system in Chinese Medicine also known as ear acupuncture.
In TCM, the ear represents a microsystem of the human body, in fact, there are hundreds of points in the ear that correspond to our body to help reset our systems. Instead of using needles, acupuncturists can use ear seeds to stimulate selective points in the ear. Patients can wear these “seeds” at home to help extend their treatment. Placing the “seeds” on these points can help with various conditions ranging from headache, weight loss, reproductive health, back pain, and studies even demonstrate auriculotherapy helps with substance abuse.
When stimulated, ear points can help regulate both the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. This form of treatment even helps with behavioral issues, eating disorders, depression, anxiety and is safe to use in conjunction to medication.
So what exactly are ear seeds? They are either Vaccaria seeds or metal balls placed with adhesive tape on different acupressure points in the ear that correlate to specific parts of the body and can be made from either Vaccaria, which are actual seeds, a metal which is more hypoallergenic, gold which tonifies, and silver which sedates.
Unlike acupuncture needles, which usually stay in the body for a short time, ear seeds can be worn for several days to help extend a traditional acupuncture treatment. I recommend patients keep them in for three to five days. While there aren’t extreme risks associated with ear seeding, leaving them in too long can create divots in the ear.
People can purchase sets of ear seeds and do them at home, however, I always recommend visiting an acupuncturist for a lesson on proper placement first.
I include ear seeds with every treatment in my practice to help extend the benefits of acupuncture; so if you are interested in this experience, you can call the office and schedule an appointment to enjoy the benefits of ear seeding.