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Ear Seeds for Weight Loss: How Do They Work?
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Ear Seeds for Weight Loss: How Do They Work?

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Published on 2022 July 13
146 Views
4 min

Ear acupuncture may support weight loss, especially when used as a part of a five-point treatment instead of applying pressure at a single point.

Ear seeds for weight loss

Multiple scientific studies have proven that acupressure with ear seeds may have significant differences in weight loss, emotional wellness, and many other health problems.

While this may appear as a recent trend, the roots of ear seeds go to a specific type of traditional therapy called auricular acupuncture. It is said that the ear represents the microsystem of the entire body, and you can say that this approach is similar to reflexology.

But what are ear seeds, how to use them, and can they help you lose weight? If you also have these questions, keep reading!

Ear Seeds for Weight Loss – Should You Try It?

Applying pressure using the seeds on specific points might help get rid of excess body fat. There are only a few studies proving this effect, but experts continue to demonstrate the benefits of these seeds.

Dr. Paul Nogier studied the benefits of ear acupressure through a five-point stimulation for the first time. He found out that acupressure therapy helps obese patients lose weight during a study.

The study compared the standard Korean five-point treatment with acupuncture to a single-point stimulation and a control or sham group. The result suggested significant differences in weight loss between the groups, and the result was better with five-point treatment stimulation than with just a single-point stimulation.

The participants in the randomized clinical trial mentioned above had a 6% decrease in their body mass index (BMI). Experts also believe that auricular acupuncture can regulate metabolism and hormones responsible for appetite and craving. Normal functioning and balance of these hormones support weight loss, prevent impulsive eating, and maintain a healthy weight.

However, while using the seeds, consistency is key. You may hear some people lose excess body fat in one week, and you may think of quitting if you can’t achieve the same result. But everyone is different, as they have different hormonal levels.

You can try ear seeds, acupuncture, body wraps, and lots of other things, but keep in mind that you have to combine it with a healthy diet and workouts. Start with pilates or cycling at first.

What Are Ear Seeds?

Ear seeds are small seeds, tiny piercings, or other small objects used in traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to stimulate pressure points in your ear – a type of auriculotherapy or ear acupuncture. They often come in the form of latex stickers that contain seeds from the Vaccaria plant.

The principles for the use of ear seeds remain the same as acupuncture. According to TCM, your health depends on the flow of energy in your body. This energy travels through invisible pathways in your body, including the ears.

Placing ear seeds on specific acupuncture points along the pathways can help clear any blocked energy, and resolving these blockages may help with various health conditions, such as chronic pain, depression, migraine, or addiction, and maintain health.

Types of ear seeds

There are a few types of ear seeds available for auriculotherapy: magnets, titanium, stainless steel, or ceramic. However, the most common kind of ear seed is made from Vaccaria seeds. You can easily attach these seeds to your ear using an adhesive sticker.

If you are allergic to bandages, latex, or adhesive tape, it’s recommended to consult an expert to use a safe alternative.

How Do Ear Seeds Work?

Ear seeds work on the principles of acupuncture, a kind of needle-free version of the therapy. The ear pressure stimulates healing at acupuncture points, which are powerfully sensitive parts of the body.

The acupoint is being stimulated by the pressure and therefore sends a message to the brain. It is said to help restore body balance and relieve anxiety, stress, or even chronic pain.

According to traditional medicine, the ear is a microsystem, which means a representation of the whole body. Applying pressure to corresponding points can stimulate a body part, and it might relieve the block, lessening stress, easing pain, and soothing allergies.

3 Benefits of Ear Seeds

The benefits of acupressure with the seeds are associated with the principles of traditional medicine. Here are 3 primary benefits observed in the scientific studies:

#1 Might relieve pain

A review of 14 articles shows these seeds help manage musculoskeletal pain. Besides, acupressure with seeds prevents the discomfort associated with typical acupuncture therapy.

Studies have shown that people undergoing therapy with these seeds had significant differences in pain tolerance. They could tolerate higher pain than they could before the therapy. Ear acupressure can also soothe menstrual pain.

#2 Might lower blood pressure

High blood pressure is both preventable and treatable. Many alternative and traditional medicines may help lower your blood pressure, including acupressure.

On reviewing 44 trials, including over 5,000 participants, scientists found that using acupressure with medicines was more effective than just using the medication alone.

#3 Helps with anxiety and depression

A 2020 review suggested that auriculotherapy may help soothe symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress.

While there may not be enough evidence to prove the efficacy of seeds, studies continue to demonstrate the beneficial effect of ear seeds on health.

Possible Risks of Ear Seeds

Generally, the use of these seeds is very safe; however, there may be some risks.

Adverse reactions include:

  • Skin tenderness if you rub seeds too hard
  • Allergic reaction if you are allergic to any of the ingredients
  • Skin irritation if you have a sensitive skin
  • Losing the seed in your ear canal
  • Dizziness or nausea if you stimulate the wrong point

The best way to safely use these seeds and prevent the risk of complications is taking the therapy from an acupuncturist or taking their advice before using them on your own.

Are Ear Seeds Safe?

Acupressure therapy using these seeds is usually safe for most people. It is a non-invasive therapy and doesn’t involve the use of needles; therefore, the risk of bleeding or infection is significantly lower than with acupuncture.

However, if you have sensitive skin, are allergic to the ingredients of the ear seeds, or rub the seeds too hard, you may observe some of the adverse effects mentioned in the previous section.

Moreover, it is best to avoid driving immediately after the therapy with ear seeds as you may not know how your body reacts to them.

FAQs

Do ear seeds hurt?

No, acupressure with the ear seeds does not hurt when used accurately. You need to apply gentle pressure and move them in circles twice or thrice a day. However, you might feel some warmth or tenderness when doing so.

Is ear seed a piercing?

The practitioner cleans the ear lobe with an alcohol swab before placing the seeds. While ear seed may appear pierced, it is not the case. As said before, ear seeds are a type of ear acupuncture without piercing needles.

Do ear seeds work for headaches?

Yes, ear seeds may help with headaches and aches in general. Some studies suggest that the use of ear seeds may reduce the intensity of headaches, including migraine. Besides, applying pressure to the seeds increases pain tolerance.

Tips From Experts

The use of auriculotherapy for weight loss and other benefits is ancient and common among believers in traditional medicine.

It makes sense to use these seeds looking at all research. However, the benefits depend on your health condition and goals. Ear seeds might help relieve stress and anxiety, but it is doubtful that just auriculotherapy would help you lose 50 pounds in a month.

If you are consistent, eat a healthy diet, and carry out the therapy correctly, you may benefit from using these seeds.

It is best to consult an acupuncturist before you use it by yourself. Moreover, if you are planning to use it for weight loss, other factors such as your calorie intake and activity can contribute to the results.

Conclusion

Acupressure with ear seeds is a traditional technique used in Chinese medicine for its various health benefits. Many studies have shown its benefits for pain, blood pressure, and anxiety. Moreover, it involves lesser discomfort than traditional acupuncture therapy.

So, if you are looking for a non-invasive approach to improving health and losing excess body weight, you can try it. However, it is recommended to consult an expert before doing the therapy yourself.

Written by
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
Medically reviewed byRosmy Barrios, MD
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