What are ear seeds?

by Head Health Nutter on November 3, 2008

No, ear seeds are not for growing flowers or vegetables out of your head, though they are real seeds from the Vaccaria plant. These tiny black beads, which I now have taped on different points along both my outer ears, are used in ear acupuncture or auricular therapy.

Apparently, different ear maps exist. As in the hands, feet and head, some believe that different areas of the ear correspond with different parts of the body. These acupuncture points along the ear help regulate the body’s internal organs, structures and functions. This treatment is used for many conditions, such as pain, mood disorders, obesity and addiction.

If you’ll remember back in August, after being 11 months smoke-free, I played Russian roulette with a cigarette – and lost. In last week’s post, “What is Traditional Chinese Medicine?” I mentioned my interest in trying acupuncture. So on Saturday I saw my Naturopathic Doc and we started the Clinic’s smoking cessation protocol.

This treatment includes some homework to prepare for the day I stop smoking (a.k.a. quit date), a tincture and herbal medication, and acupuncture. Before he stuck me with 6 needles, 2 in each hand and 1 in each foot, the doc applied the ear seeds, 6 per ear. Sitting in the middle of a small square cut piece of skin-coloured adhesive tape, they are barely noticeable along my ears’ folds and grooves.

They are slightly uncomfortable, however, perhaps even a tad painful. My instructions were to gently press on them during a craving. Doing so has been shown to stimulate the release of endorphins, the body’s natural drug. Auriculotherapy seeks to restore a sense of well-being, reduce anxiety and promote detoxification.

I’ve been fiddling with my ear seeds but haven’t really noticed any affect yet. Has anyone else used ear seeds for anything? Did they work for you? Let us know in the comments below!

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