Ear seeds are in every single place as of late. And although the title could think of visions of flowering vegetation sprouting out of your earlobes, they’re truly a type of acupressure, which targets acupuncture factors with out utilizing needles.
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So what can these tiny however mighty acupressure instruments do for you? Acupuncturist Thuy Kim Nguyen, DAOM, LAc, explains what ear seeds are, what they do and how one can use them for essentially the most profit.
What are ear seeds?
Based in conventional Chinese medication (TCM), ear seeds are a type of auriculotherapy, which makes use of acupressure factors within the ear to stimulate different elements of the physique.
“Auriculotherapy is commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat and even prevent conditions like anxiety, insomnia, chronic pain, nausea, vomiting, substance abuse and gynecological and digestive disorders,” Dr. Nguyen says. “The ear seed is like an acupuncture needle that you use to stimulate a channel to help the patient’s condition without needing to puncture the skin.”
So what precisely is an ear seed? They’re small latex stickers — in regards to the measurement of a fingernail — that include a ripe seed from the Vaccaria plant. Your acupuncturist locations every ear seed fastidiously in your ear in particular acupressure factors that correspond with the situations you’re experiencing.
“The ears reflect the condition of the internal organs,” Dr. Nguyen says, “so bodily problems will show on the ears. Certain points on the ear change in color, become tender or exhibit changes in size or shape. We use those signs to figure out where to put the seeds to help the patient.”
Types of ear seeds
The mostly used ear seeds are constructed from Vaccaria seeds which are connected to an adhesive sticker, although some variations now are made with ion pellets, magnets, stainless-steel, titanium, ceramic or different supplies as an alternative.
If you’ve got allergy symptoms to latex, bandages or tape, be sure to seek the advice of together with your acupuncturist to make use of ear seeds with a backing that’s protected for you.
Benefits of ear seeds
There’s not sufficient analysis to show how nicely ear seeds work, however studies continue displaying that they’ve a optimistic affect on insomnia and ache — and possibly on different situations, too.
“There are more than 120 acupressure points in the ear,” Dr. Nguyen says. “The ears have a very close relationship with the nervous system, and some research shows that acupuncture or acupressure on the ear can stimulate the meridians.” (According to conventional Chinese medication, 12 major meridians carry vitality all through the physique.)
Ear seeds, then, can be utilized to deal with quite a lot of well being issues, together with:
- Acute ache.
- Chronic ache.
- Substance abuse.
- Weight points.
How to make use of ear seeds
Thinking about making an attempt ear seeds by yourself? Dr. Nguyen explains how one can get began and why you need to see an acupuncturist beforehand.
1. Have knowledgeable apply them
Although ear seeds are offered to be used at residence, Dr. Nguyen recommends first consulting with a licensed acupuncturist to be sure you’re placing them in the precise place in your particular wants.
“It’s important that you always consult with your practitioner or your primary care provider first to see if this is something you should be doing and to make sure it’s safe for your condition,” she says.
2. Massage them gently
Three to 5 instances per day, gently rub your ear seeds in a round movement to stimulate the elements of your physique they’re supposed to assist.
“Don’t press down too hard, to the point that you hurt yourself,” Dr. Nguyen says, “but just enough that you can feel the stimulation.”
3. Remove them after three to 5 days
Your ear seeds will lose their stickiness with time, particularly as they’re uncovered to the moisture within the air and water whenever you bathe. And even when they’re holding up nicely, you need to take away them after a number of days in order that they don’t begin to irritate your pores and skin.
Can you apply ear seeds your self?
After an acupuncturist has proven you the place — precisely — to use your ear seeds for essentially the most advantages, you may strive at-home utility.
But Dr. Nguyen says it’s greatest to have another person apply them for you utilizing tweezers. This will make sure that the ear seeds are utilized in the precise spot and reduce the danger of the seed coming off of its sticker and falling into your ear canal.
Side results of utilizing ear seeds
Ears seeds are typically protected to make use of, however there are some dangers. Adverse reactions could embrace:
- Skin tenderness: If you rub your ear seeds too exhausting, chances are you’ll trigger your self a bit ache within the spots the place they’re caught.
- Skin irritation: If you’ve got delicate pores and skin or depart them in your ears too lengthy, chances are you’ll expertise redness, irritation or swelling.
- Allergic response: If you’re allergic to any of the elements in ear seeds or supplies used, inform your acupuncturist and ask them to make use of a model that doesn’t embrace these allergens.
- Dizziness or nausea: Accidentally stimulating the flawed level in your physique could make you are feeling faint, woozy or typically ailing.
- Losing the seed in your ear canal: Though ear seeds are caught to an adhesive, they’re not firmly affixed to it, which implies the seed itself can fall off — and into your ear, which can require medical consideration to take away. This is why Dr. Nguyen recommends having another person apply them to your ears.
- Accidental labor: “There’s a certain point on the ear that can induce labor,” Dr. Nguyen warns, so save the ear seeds till after you’ve safely given delivery.
The greatest method to be sure you’re utilizing ear seeds safely is to speak to an acupuncturist earlier than utilizing them by yourself.
“If you want to use ear seeds, it’s very important that you first consult with a practitioner so that they can show you where to put them and where to avoid using them,” Dr. Nguyen reiterates.