Acupuncture is all the rage these days with everyone from your mother to your favorite celebrity embracing this pointy remedy. However, it’s not all mind over matter; there have been numerous studies that prove the veracity of acupuncture and related studies. One such tool, known as ear seeds, is similar to acupuncture but it focuses entirely on pressure points in the ears. Read on to find out more about this strange secret and what it can do for your waistline.
What exactly are ear seeds?
You’ve probably never noticed someone wearing ear seeds. Which a good thing, since they aren’t necessarily meant to be noticed. They simply blend into any jewelry on your ear and can be worn without pain, discomfort, or any lengthy procedures for 2-5 days at a time.
Ear seeds are based on acupuncture techniques in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), whose proponents believe that health depends on the flow of qi (energy) in your body. This auriculotherapy (which simply means acupressure or acupuncture of the ear) stimulates specific pressure points to create a personalized remedy dependent on your own needs and ailments.
According to TCM, energy is constantly traveling throughout your body along pathways known as meridians. Ear seeds are used at strategic points along these paths to help clear blocked qi and align the body in a healthy state. Basically, points on your ear correspond to various organs and systems inside your body, and putting pressure on them can bring peace and restoration. Though it may sound a little strange, science is on board with this ancient practice.
Traditionally, ear seeds are the tiny seeds of the Vaccaria plant, but there are also metal and ceramic ones available as well. These minuscule seeds are attached to the ears pressure points with an adhesive tape, where they usually stay for about five days, depending on where exactly you use them. While you have ear seeds on, you can shower and sleep like normal and enjoy the non-invasive benefits.
Ear seeds are used to help with many things, including:
- Chronic pain, especially lower back pain
- Insomnia and other sleep issues
- Migraine and other head pain
- Weight loss
How can ear seeds help with weight loss?
Now for the million-dollar question? Do they work, or are they just another ineffective fad that will go the way of the balance bracelet and shaker weights? The truth is, though there is limited research to support ear seeds, there is still scientific proof that backs them. Plus, they are incredibly affordable, you can’t hurt yourself by using them, and if you notice a difference, then they work for you and that is all that matters.
Ear seeds can help you lose weight by serving as a reminder and deterrent against stress or emotional eating. If you eat fairly healthy but always grab for that pint of ice cream in the freezer when hard times come your way, ear seeds could help you find an alternative coping mechanism. Experts suggest rubbing or touching the seeds in your ear each time you are tempted to eat unhealthy food, and you will begin to lose your craving.
This method works because there is a connection between the vagus nerve and ear acupuncture. According to researchers, the vagus nerve is tied directly to the parasympathetic nervous system of the heart and the digestive tract. When pressure is applied to the ear seed, your urge to indulge is halted.
How can you use ear seeds?
Though many people purchase at-home kits and apply ear seeds themselves, it is best to let a professional acupuncturist or other natural healthcare profession apply them for the first time. Not only will they help teach you how to place the seeds properly, but they will also explain where to find locations that will help alleviate your symptoms. Once you understand the process and feel comfortable using the seeds by yourself, speak with them about continuing your treatment at home.
Remember, unlike acupuncture, ear seeds do not require the use of needles and they are usually painless. You may experience some side effects as your body adjusts to the seeds so keep an eye out for nausea, dizziness, or drowsiness that may occur following the first use.
Caution: Dislodged ear seeds could fall into the ear canal and cause severe, long-term damage if not addressed. Use and remove with care and see a doctor immediately if you believe you have lost a seed into your ear.