With changing therapies and technologies, people are opting for painless and easy to access methods for several treatments. And, the latest trend to join the list of popular therapies is ear seeds.

Ear seeds are small acupuncture needles in the shape of seeds used to stimulate pressure points in your ear.

Dr Sushma Kushwah, bachelor of naturopathy and yogic sciences, Nirvana Naturopathy and Retreat, Igatpuri, Nasik, shares: “They’re a type of auriculotherapy, which refers to acupressure or acupuncture focused on the flow of energy through ear. They are based on the principles of meridians that are found throughout the body, but here, only ear meridians can be used to heal in most of the requirements.”

Experts share that auriculotherapy is a treatment based on traditional Chinese medicine, which mentions that health depends on the flow of energy (qi) in your body.

Dr Rimmi Verma–a BPT, MPT, physiotherapist, and Sujok therapist at AXIS Hospital–says, “This energy is believed to travel along the meridians in the body. So, when needle or seeds are applied in this meridian, it clears the blockage and boosts wellness.”

Auriculotherapy is still a new concept, however, it is gaining popularity for its non-invasive methods as compared to acupuncture.

Ear seeds are tiny seeds of vaccaria plant that are stuck onto the meridian or corresponding points on the body, which stimulates the point through light pressure overtime and it balances the energy, invigorates blood and improves healing.

Dr Verma adds, “It is used for physical problems like joint pain, back problems, headache, immunity, and mental problems like depression, anxiety, and addiction without any side effects. It is preferred for children or adults who are not comfortable with needles and it is also less expensive and a safer therapy.”

The seeds should be placed for a maximum of five days and the area should be massaged gently two to three times a day in a circular motion lasting for three minutes.

It’s not a magical pill that’ll give immediate relief but it does gives good results when continued for a period of time.

According to Dr Kushwah, ailments healed by ear seeds stimulation are chronic pain, especially lower back pain, insomnia, depression, anxiety, stress, infertility, migraine, different types of headaches, addictions and weight loss.

Dos and don’ts of ear seed usage

Dr Kushwah shares that as far as ear seeds are concerned it should be applied by an experienced therapist and if they fall off, most of the time people don’t notice and when they come in for their next treatment it can be replaced simply.

“The skin is not pierced at all so there are no issues of surrounding infection, so there are absolutely no adverse reactions in using ear seeds,” she says.

If by any chance skin gets itchy or red, simply clean with spirit and replaces the seeds. Dr Satish Bhatia, MD, dermatology & skin surgery, Indian Cancer Society says, “As acupuncture can lead to an irritant or allergic contact dermatitis in many cases I do not advocate the new use of acupuncture needles on the skin. Also, along with acupuncture needle, certain oils may cause an allergic rash on the skin as well.”

What are the pros and cons of ear seed therapy?
According to Dr Nirupama Parwanda, dermatologist & founder, Zolie Skin Clinic, this therapy has its share of pros and cons, like:

Pros
Because of general health benefits that ear seeds have, like improving the sleep cycle and stress, they would have a positive impact on cutaneous psychosomatic disorders like eczema, psoriasis, vitiligo, and seborrheic dermatitis.

Cons
• Contact dermatitis can occur to people who are allergic to metal ear seeds which can lead to redness, itching, and rashes.

• Allergy due to the adhesive tape or the adhesive used to stick the ear seeds can lead to rashes and allergy.

• In rare cases, there might be an infection in the area because of previous abrasions.

• In other rare cases, massaging the seeds may cause contact urticaria or pressure urticaria, which is also a type of allergy