What are ear seeds?

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), different points on the ear correspond to various other parts of the body.

If you keep up with celebrity-backed trends, you may be familiar with ear seed acupressure, a type of auriculotherapy: a complementary medicine based entirely around the external ear. Matt Damon, Penélope Cruz and other celebrities are known to use auriculotherapy techniques to help soothe a variety of pains, illnesses and disorders.

“When these points are stimulated, either through acupuncture or acupressure, the body can experience healing effects,” says Steven Mui, a clinician and acupuncture specialist at Aurora Health Center in Fond du Lac, Wis.

Ear seed acupressure uses seeds from the vaccaria plant or metal pellets to stimulate the key points within the ear.

“These ear seeds are stuck to the ear with adhesive tape for 3-5 days, which the patients can then use therapeutically at any time,” Mui says.

Ear seed acupressure may treat a variety of health-related issues, including:

  • Back pain
  • Sleep disorders
  • Mental disorders such as depression or anxiety
  • Everyday stress
  • Gynecological disorders
  • Migraines or headaches
  • Addiction
  • Weight loss

Does it work?

There may be truth to the healing effects auriculotherapy has to offer, but all bodies react differently. While ear seed acupressure may offer some relief, this type of complementary medicine is best used in combination with traditional treatment. Always consult with your doctor before making any changes to your personal treatment plan.

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