Despite what might come to mind, acupressure is not acupuncture’s cheap cousin. In fact, it’s one of the earliest forms of acupuncture — in Traditional Chinese Medicine, dull pointed stones were used to press into specific meridian points across the body’s energy channels to activate specific functions.
It’s true that we can perform acupressure on ourselves, all over our body. However, certain areas of the body contain more concentrated clusters of important, specific, and useful points than others. Our feet are loaded with points for reflexology, but our ears also contain many points we can address. The practice of ear acupressure is called auricular therapy, or auricular acupuncture. And it goes back. Way back. Like, 2,500 years back.
The applications of auricular therapy are considered to have a close relationship with the autonomic nervous system, the neuroendocrine system, neuroimmunological factors, neuroinflammation, and neural reflex, as well as antioxidation in the battle against pollution and environmental toxins. Auricular therapy has been applied, for example, for pain relief, the treatment of epilepsy, anxiety, and obesity, and improving sleep quality.
There are pressure points in the ear for many afflictions. This kind of acupressure is perfect for both treating and diagnosing both physical and psychosomatic issues. Think:, restless sleep, hormone imbalance, shoulder pain, lower back pain, reproduction, immunity, focus, stress, cramps, digestion, and more. By stimulating a specific point in the ear, the pressure can trigger a neurological reflex, which affects neurotransmitters, cytokines, the immune system, and even inflammation.
Since the ears are a smaller part of the body, pinning down these points needs to be more precise than using a dull stone. Cue the cutest ever: ear seeds. These are tiny, 14k gold spheres set on a small, circular, transparent adhesive.
The spheres are placed directly onto a pressure point, pressed in, and stick for 3-5 days— and in some cases up to a week. Yep, that’s through showering, sweating, sleeping, using earbud headphones, etc. And they look like tiny gold flecks studding the ears, almost like jewelry. It’s like a little constellation on each ear.
First, the goal is to, remember they are there. Then, we can press them gently, holding our ears in a pinch between our thumb and index fingers, using the gold balls to lightly activate the pressure point. Do this anytime you think of it, but try for at least once a day for 3-5 seconds each.
You can go to a professional to get these placed — many acupuncture studios now offer this, but it may require some research. Special tweezers are used to place them precisely, but with some practice, it can be done at home.
We definitely recommend having it done professionally your first couple of times; it’s relatively inexpensive, and some insurance plans cover it completely. When you’re ready to DIY, start out by cleansing and drying the surface of your ear thoroughly before placing them strategically using some fine point tweezers per your needs.
Make sure to massage them gently, not hard. The pressure points are sensitive, and you could irritate the skin and cause extra sensitivity and redness if pressed down too aggressively. Leave them on for 3-5 days, and let some fall off naturally, or peel them off. Do not exceed one week for hygienic reasons as well as sensitivity to the body’s meridians. Some redness and indentation of the ball point may remain for a day or so, but it fades with time.