Perhaps you’ve seen photo’s of celebrities like Matt Damon and Penelope Cruz sporting ear seeds and wondered what they were and what they are used for. Well, that’s why you’ve visited my blog…I’m going to tell you! Ear seeds are tiny balls made from Vaccaria seeds from the Vaccaria plant. Seeds also come in gold, silver and magnetic beads. They are stuck to the cartilage of the ear using a small piece of adhesive tape. These seeds are carefully placed on selected acupuncture points in order to stimulate them.
Using ear seeds is a common technique in Chinese Medicine often used to reduce food, cigarette and drug cravings. They can also be used for many other conditions such as chronic pain, depression, digestive problems or insomnia.
Ear seeds usually stay in the ear for a few days, sometimes longer. While most people are not bothered by ear seeds, if you do experience any discomfort, you can take them out yourself without any problem.
In my Chicago acupuncture practice, I usually will needle one ear and send the patient home with seeds in the other ear. However, for people who are terrified of needles, this is a great way to stimulate some acupoints without using the needle.
Jennifer Dubowsky, LAc, is a licensed acupuncturist with a practice in downtown Chicago, Illinois, since 2002. Dubowsky earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology from University of Illinois in Chicago and her Master of Science degree in Oriental Medicine from Southwest Acupuncture College in Boulder, Colorado. During her studies, she completed an internship at the Sino-Japanese Friendship Hospital in Beijing, China. Dubowsky has researched and written articles on Chinese medicine and has given talks on the topic. She maintains a popular blog about health and Chinese medicine at Acupuncture Blog Chicago. Adventures in Chinese Medicine is her first book. You can find her at www.tcm007.com.