By Eloise Goodwin (R.TCMP, R.Ac)
Have you ever heard of ear seeds? What are they? What do they do?
Ear seeds are small stick-on seeds that allow you to have constant subtle stimulation of a specific ear acupuncture point. You can also gently press the seed into your ear for gentle self-acupressure 3-5 times per day. They are usually kept on the ear for up to 5 days and can be an effective way to continue the benefits of your acupuncture treatment. For those who may be shy or nervous of needles, ear seeds are an amazing way to gain the benefits of auricular acupuncture, no needles required!
Ear “seeds” can be metal (gold, stainless steel, magnetic), ceramic, or, most commonly, actual seeds from the vaccaria plant. The vaccaria seed (wang bu liu xing / semen vaccariae) is a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) herb that is in the “Invigorate Blood” category. As such, it is contraindicated to use vaccaria seeds during pregnancy or with patients who have bleeding disorders.
In Chinese Medicine, the ears are considered a microcosm of the body. When you next look at your ear, imagine seeing the shape of an upside-down fetus: the head where the ear lobe is and the spine along the cartilaginous ridge. The ear is also full of blood vessels and close to major nerves. Its proximity to the brain and direct links to each of the organs through the microcosm lens is why auricular (ear) acupuncture and ear seeds can be an incredibly effective therapy for many conditions.
Curious about how ear seeds or auricular acupuncture could work for you? Ask at your next appointment with Restore’s Registered Acupuncturists, Eloise Goodwin or Megan Nishida.