Despite the fact that some of the buzziest wellness concepts have only just showed up on your radar (or feed, as the case may be), they're hardly anything new. A perfect example of this can be seen in many of the practices popular in Eastern medicine, including cupping, acupuncture, and gua sha. But, lately, there's another gaining some steam among the community, and it involves stimulating key points on the ear — without the invasiveness of a needle. So if not acupuncture, what is ear seeding and could it benefit some issues you're trying to remedy? An expert is breaking down this new-to-you practice.
Mona Dan is an herbalist, acupuncturist, and founder of Vie Healing, a holistic healing clinic in Beverly Hills. Besides other more well-known services like acupuncture, reiki, and skincare, one of the clinic's most signature treatments is ear seeding — using 24-karat gold "seeds." And while it certainly looks chic (think teeny-tiny gold ear piercings but without the punctures), you might be asking yourself what's the point of this practice. Well, according to experts, it may just help with common afflictions including back pain, sleep issues, and stress.
"Ear seeding is a technique used by acupuncturists to assist the nervous system in balancing out," says Dan. "By sending signals to the reflex centers of the brain, relaxation signals are sent by the nervous system to the entire body." The acupuncturist notes that our ears are particularly innervated, which is why this practice can be so effective in communicating with the brain. "The ear holds a reflexology map of the entire body on it," she explains. "Each area holds a position on the ear that targets the nervous system. We also have four main innervations to the ear that, when they get stimulated, they send signals quickly to the brain to balance brain chemistry."
According to Dan, this means that ear seeding is especially useful for recalibrating the nervous system and endocrine (hormone) system, balancingf brain chemistry, and regulating blood flow. One reason this wellness trend could be becoming so popular is that, unlike acupuncture, it utilizes magnets as opposed to needles, which makes it a great option for those who have a phobia of getting poked. "Ear seeds aren't as invasive as acupuncture but they are most similar to acupressure," she says. "The constant stimulation of the magnets on the ear seeds send signals to the reflex centers of the brain similar to both mentioned above to assist in balancing out the nervous system."
Also, because they don't require an actual piercing, it's possible to practice ear seeding on your own as well, making this process a bit more accessible (regardless of your proximity to an acupuncturist). In fact, Vie Healing actually offers a shopping option for their signature gold seeds, complete with a map to help guide you to the best points for pain relief, reduced anxiety, better mood, and body detoxification.
And while you should absolutely consult a physician for persistent, reoccurring health issues, it seems as though ear seeding could be a legitimate option to try for some general calming effects — without foreseeable side effects. "Fortunately everyone is a good candidate," says Dan. "From younger children to older adults, everyone can benefit from all of their relaxing effects."