Ear, or auricular, acupuncture is a commonly practised technique involving the stimulation of specific points on the ear. Although it has long been used in China for a variety of conditions, auricular diagnosis and treatment has become a unique branch of TCM throughout other parts of the world since the late 1980s. When internal disorders occur, changes such as tenderness, decreased cutaneous electrical resistance, morphologic changes, or discolouration may appear at specific ear points.
Auricular acupuncture can be used for a wide range of problems and it is especially useful to relieve pain, calm the mind, treat allergies and infectious diseases and regulate the endocrine system. It is also used to help people going through withdrawal from drug addiction.
The NADA protocol is a protocol using five points on the ear that has been established to help treat emotionally traumatic situations, severe stress or simply to induce a sense of calm. It is often used in traumatic situations and there is quite a body of evidence as to its efficacy.
I often use this protocol as an adjunct to other therapies where people are very stressed or in a lot of pain.
Ear seeds are small seeds used to stimulate pressure points in your ear. They are a type of auriculotherapy, which refers to acupressure or acupuncture focused on the ear.
They are based on the same general principles as acupuncture. In TCM, your health depends on the flow of qi (energy) in your body.
According to TCM, this energy travels along invisible pathways, known as meridians, which are found throughout the body, including in the ears.
Ear seeds are placed on certain points, usually along meridian lines, to help clear up any qi blockages. In TCM, resolving these blockages may help with a variety of health conditions.
What do people use them for?
People claim ear seeds help with a range of health issues, including:
- chronic pain, especially lower back pain
- insomnia and other sleep issues
- migraine and other head pain
- weight loss
Some people use ear seeds on their own. Others use them between acupuncture or massage appointments.