Ear seeds, what are they and how do they work?

Recently, TikTok influencers have been talking a lot about a traditional health practice called “ear seeding.” This ancient technique, also known as auricular acupressure, is gaining attention for its purported health benefits, despite its roots dating back thousands of years. It involves stimulating specific points on the ear using small beads or seeds adhered to an adhesive material. Similar to auricular acupuncture but without the use of needles. Dr. Sue Kim, a medical acupuncturist, explains that it’s simply a process where small metal beads or other materials like seeds or ceramic beads are strategically placed on the ear surface. This practice has gained popularity on TikTok, with hashtags like #earseeding and dedicated channels accumulating millions of views. Many TikTok users and some emerging research suggest that this practice, derived from traditional Chinese medicine, may alleviate various health issues such as chronic pain, stress, and weight loss. Some TikTok users have shared their personal experiences with this ancient technique. For example, Grace Bonjibon and Ava Lee claim to have experienced relief from migraines and improved digestion, respectively. Giselle Boxer, who runs an ear seeding studio, suggests that this ancient technique may help with stress, fatigue, concentration, and sleep. However, it’s important to be cautious and consult a licensed acupuncture practitioner before trying ear seeding, just like with any alternative therapy. This ancient technique is based on the belief that the ear reflects the entire body, with different points corresponding to different organs and systems. Instead of needles, small adhesive patches containing seeds or beads are placed on specific points of the outer ear. Although the exact mechanisms of ear seeding are still being investigated, it is believed to stimulate the release of endorphins, which may help alleviate pain. Studies suggest it could be effective for conditions such as pain management, anxiety, insomnia, and weight loss. Although more research is needed, it’s likely to offer benefits for a wide range of health issues, including anxiety, chronic and acute pain, insomnia, smoking cessation, and weight loss. However, it’s important to note that there are fewer studies on this specific treatment compared to auricular acupuncture.

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