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Everything You Need to Know About Ear Seeds — Straight From an Acupuncturist

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Everything You Need to Know About Ear Seeds — Straight From an Acupuncturist

Are your ears the gateway to wellness? If you’re a believer in the healing powers of ear seeds — teeny tiny beads placed on various parts of the ear — you might think so.

A form of auriculotherapy, or ear acupuncture, ear seeds have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years, but are particularly buzzy right now for their on-the-go convenience and healing powers.

“Ear seeds work by putting light pressure on specific acupressure points on the ear to stimulate that point, and modern clinical research has shown the effect these points have on neurological pathways,” Shari Auth, a licenced and NCCAOM-certified doctor of acupuncture and Chinese medicine and WTHN co-founder, explained.

So, Why the Ears?

Auth explained that in traditional Chinese medicine, the ear is the home over 200 pressure points that have the potential to transform the body and the mind.

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“These points have healing properties such as calming the mind, boosting immunity, reducing pain, and more,” she said. They can even be used to help treat lower back pain, PMS pain, and stress, as well as aiding in digestion and supporting immunity. Different combinations of these points can be used to treat different issues at once. “For example, you can use a seed to balance hormones and calm the mind — the two points will work together to produce a greater result,” she added.

While ear seeds were originally actual seeds from the Vaccaria plant, Auth said today both plant-based seeds and metal beads are used — some even made with Swarovski crystals.

How Do Ear Seeds Work?

Auth said that ear seeds have been shown to have immediate results for some, while others with more difficult conditions see more positive results in a few weeks and when used with acupuncture and herbs. In general, she said she recommends ear seeds being used in conjunction with acupuncture.

However, Dr. Tania Elliott, MD FAAAAI, FACAAI, associate attending at NYU Langone Health in New York City, and national spokesperson for the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, said that small studies show incremental/slight improvement when adding ear seeds to a standard weight loss, blood pressure, or anxiety regimen, but they are not “magic bullet solutions.”

Ear seeds are typically applied to the ears toward the end of an acupuncture appointment and, according to Auth, are “surprisingly resilient.” She suggested the seeds removing after three to five days if they haven’t already fallen off to avoid irritation.

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There are also at-home ear seed kits you can purchase and apply yourself, for example the 24k Gold/Silver Plated Ear Seed Kit (£30). If you are interested in buying an at-home kit, be sure that you’re purchasing from a reputable source and that the seeds are made with materials that won’t irritate your skin. Dr. Elliott said that the risk associated with a treatment like ear seeds is getting it from someone who has not been trained or doesn’t have experience with the therapy. So when in doubt, reach out to your doctor with questions or for advice.

Ear Seeds UK Review

POPSUGAR UK editorial coordinator, Lauren Gordon says: “Ear seeds have piqued my interest for a while now, and I was lucky enough to have them done at a pop-up event, courtesy of Acu Seeds. I chose to follow the stress protocol ear map, which would utilise specific points in my ear to combat stress.

“Although tiny, I really loved how the ear seeds looked like tiny ear jewellery, without the commitment of a piercing. Of course, the added bonus of a wellness aid made having the seeds more impactful. After five days, it was recommended that I take out the seeds, but I found that they fell out on their own. Throughout my time with them, I forgot they were there and didn’t irritate me at all.”

Do Ear Seeds Help Relieve Stress?

Lauren continues: “In all honesty, I didn’t notice a difference with the ear seeds in. I was told to massage the different points throughout the day to make sure I’d reap the stress-relieving benefits, which I kept up with religiously. I didn’t notice a change until after the seeds had gone. I found small changes without them, for example, my body felt tense and my lower back pain (which I have been dealing with for a while) was more noticeable, proving that the seeds had helped to keep the stress on my body at bay after all.”

— Additional reporting by Lauren Gordon

Lauren Gordon is the editorial coordinator at POPSUGAR UK, where she creates lifestyle and identity content. Lauren has a degree in journalism from University of the Arts London and previously worked as a showbiz and TV reporter at The Mirror US. Lauren specialises in pop culture, hair and beauty, focusing on trends, sharing in-depth tutorials, and highlighting hidden gems in the beauty industry.
Victoria Moorhouse is a beauty content director for Vox Media, where she oversees content for L’Oréal’s Makeup.com and Skincare.com. She was previously a senior editor for POPSUGAR, where she worked with partners to cover health, fitness, and wellness. She’s also contributed many beauty articles to the site.

Everything You Need to Know About Ear Seeds — Straight From an Acupuncturist

24k Gold/Silver Plated Ear Seed Kit £30 from acuseeds.co.uk Buy Now