• Ear Seed Therapy: Experience the Microcosm of the Ear

    By Jackie Christensen, BS, HHP, NC, MH

    Faculty Member of GCNM

    According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the ear represents
    a microcosm of the body. Ear seed therapy is a practice that utilizes
    this wisdom by applying pressure to specific points found on the ear
    help to regulate internal functions. Ear seed therapy, also known as
    auricular therapy, uses the application of small round seeds to
    various areas on the outer ear to stimulate acupressure points. Seeds
    are taped and left on the ears so that the client may press on the
    points to apply additional stimulation if needed.

    From the Taoism philosophy, there are six major yang meridians and
    six major yin meridians. Classical acupuncture recognizes that the
    yang meridians are directly connected to the external ear. When these
    energy lines are blocked or congested, it manifests into some
    pathology in a specific area of the body. Applying pressure to
    specific points on the ear can relieve the symptoms and underlying
    cause of a particular health problem by moving energy. The meridian
    energy lines that are connected to the external ear have created the
    field of ear seed therapy.

    Another perspective of ear seeding focuses not on the acupuncture
    meridians, but on the ear as a localized reflex system connected to
    the central . This concept postulates that nerves in
    the skin overlie specific areas of the external ear that correspond
    to specific parts of the brain, which has reflex connections to the

    Ear seed therapy has an extensive history of use throughout China
    and is even mentioned in the infamous  The Yellow Emperor’s Classic
    of Internal Medicine.  In modern practice, ear seed therapy has been
    used to stimulate the body to release endorphins. Therefore, it has
    widely been used for many conditions, such as addiction treatment,
    mood disorders, obesity, and pain. Abundant research has supported
    the use of ear acupuncture for pain relief and addiction treatment.
    As more research accumulates on the efficacy of ear seeding, it is
    expected to grow in popularity.

    The practitioner may use ear seeds to stimulate the points on the
    ears. The seeds that are used are small seeds that come from the
    Vaccaria plant, which grows in China and Southern Europe. The whole
    plant is harvested in the summer and dried in the sun. The seeds are
    then removed from their shells and dried again. The seeds can be used
    raw or dried further. The seeds are then applied to the ears with tape
    and may be left on the ears for up to several weeks. During times of
    imbalance or needed support, one can simply press on the seeds for
    additional relief. Some experts recommend pressing on the seeds at
    least three times daily for a short time.

    Ear seed therapy is generally incorporated into an acupuncture
    program; however it can be inducted by a variety of practitioners.
    While the insertion of acupuncture needles into any part of the body
    requires approved training in acupuncture, anyone can learn ear
    acupressure points and reflexology by placing firm but gentle
    pressure on the relevant regions of the ear.


    “AcuSeed for Weight Loss.” Organic Growth. Organic Growth , n.d.
    Web. 27 Mar. 2012.http://acuseeds4weightloss.com/f_a_q.html.

    Schiffke, Heather. “Ear Acupuncture .” Acupuncture.Com. Cyber Legend
    Ltd., n.d. Web. 27 Mar. 2012.

    Content on this website is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your health care professional. You should not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating a health problem or prescribing any medication or other treatment.
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