Traditional Chinese Medicine has had thousands of years to develop all sorts of intriguing treatments and acupuncture is one of the most popular branches of therapy in the West. Acupuncture itself is a broad and comprehensive practice though, using techniques from massage and moxa all the way to needling and ear seeds.
If you’re new to ear seeds, even the term might sound a little strange. What are you doing, sowing seeds in your patients’ ears? Not quite.
This type of treatment is a convenient way to treat and manage a wide range of issues long after your client has left their appointment. Often used as part of a broader plan, getting to know ear seeds and how to use them can widen your range of services.
What Are Ear Seeds?
Press pellets, Vaccaria seeds, magnetic balls, ion pellets – they’re all examples of a type of acupressure therapy used specifically on the ears. Originally, seeds from the Vaccaria plant family were used (and still very much are) which is why the tiny tools are still referred to as ‘ear seeds’.
Aside from Vaccaria seeds, these tiny balls are usually alloy plated with gold or silver. You can also use non-plated balls. The balls or seeds come with tiny sticking plasters too, to keep them perfectly in place.
But in what place?
How Do You Use Ear Seeds?
The ears are often used in acupuncture, independently of any other body part. This is because, in Traditional Chinese Medicine, they already contain acupoints relating to all other parts of the body in them. Simply put, if you know where to place your seed or needle, you can treat any part of the body purely from the ears.
Not only do the points on the ears cover different organs and body parts, but they also cover specific conditions. Experts can create treatment maps that specifically focus on the client’s exact issue, allowing for easy tailoring to each person.
Once the points have been identified, ear seeds, or pellets, are stuck onto the point, usually held in place with a tiny plaster. Once in place, the seeds can be left or massaged gently. With guidance, your patients can continue massaging the points when needed, for days after the appointment. This flexibility gives the patient ongoing relief while being safe in the knowledge that the seeds have been positioned correctly.
Why Are Some Ear Seeds Magnetic?
When you start looking at ear seeds and pellets, you’ll see that many are magnetic or list their ‘Gauss’ unit. Named for the physicist Carl Friedrich Gauss, this unit measures magnetic flux density.
Humans have their own magnetic field and recent developments in the ability to detect such weak fields is a fascinating branch of science. While it’s not thought that we can use magnetism in the same way many animals do (innate navigation, for example), complementary therapy has long made use of magnets in therapy.
For this reason, trained auriculotherapy professionals often use magnetic pellets to adjust their treatments with the goal of affecting the body’s magnetism. This is part of a treatment type sometimes referred to as Magnetic Field Therapy. It’s commonly used to treat pain.
What Are Ear Seeds Used to Treat?
The research is thin on the ground with ear seeds, mostly because being non-invasive and safe, there’s not a huge amount of urgency when it comes to doing lengthy, comprehensive studies. The studies there have been tend to be very small and while the results often have positive outcomes, the amount of participants is mostly too low to offer conclusive results.
However, acupuncture itself has become a highly reputable field in the West for several conditions, including tension headaches. It’s also increasingly used for chronic pain and lower back pain, which affects around 1 in 3 people in the UK alone each year.
Ear seeds are a part of the same therapeutic system, relying on acupoints and acupressure. Many people find that ear seed treatment offers relief from issues such as stress, muscular pain and many others. As it’s quick and safe to try, it’s a great therapy for clients to test out, to see if it works for them.
As ear seeds don’t use needles, as acupuncture often does, they are sometimes seen as a non-invasive path into acupuncture in general.
Ear seeds are sometimes used to treat issues such as:
- Digestive issues
- Muscular pain
- Weight loss
- Stress and anxiety
- Premenstrual syndrome
- Many more
Are There Any Risks?
Ear seeds are generally completely safe to use as they simply sit on top of the skin. However, it’s advised that users shouldn’t keep the same seeds on for more than a few days before changing them for hygiene reasons.
If the seeds are massaged a lot, the skin can become sensitive due to friction so users should take care to be mindful of any irritation. The same goes for skin irritation due to the plaster, which is unlikely but can occur.
Finding the Right Ear Seeds and Magnetic Pellets
With warming gold, cooling silver and plenty of others, choosing pellets can feel overwhelming. If you train in ear seed therapy though, you’ll soon learn which ones are best suited to different treatments. As a safe treatment, you can experiment with different pellets, placements and magnetism.
We carry a full range of ear seeds, pellets and plasters. These high-quality pellets are firm favourites with acupuncturists and complementary therapists world over. Check out our range here.