Although auriculotherapy has some roots in ancient China, India and Europe, it wasn’t until the 1950’s when a French physician named Dr. Paul Nogier discovered those roots and went on to dedicate his life to researching it and creating the system of auriculotherapy practiced today.
Both the foot and the ear represent microsystems of the entire body. As an easy way to explain the concept of auriculotherapy, one could say it’s similar to reflexology - but, on the ear.
According to the World Health Organization, the ear is the most studied microsystem of the entire body!
Acupuncture V. Acupressure
Acupuncture is a practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine - that has existed for over 2,000 years - where fine needles are inserted into specialized points on the body to stimulate healing.
“In Chinese medicine, it is believed that the body is made of internal meridians or pathways where energy flow (Qi) occurs,” says Jocelynn Hyde Cheng, MSAc.
“When there is not proper flow, imbalances in the body arise, negatively effecting one’s health. This is where we see disease or pain. By applying hair-thin needles at very specific points, acupuncture rebalances the body’s natural homeostasis and improves overall health.”
It is believed that acupuncture points correlate with our central nervous system, directly accessing the body’s network of nerves, muscles, and organ systems. It is a safe that oftentimes delivers impressive results across various physical, mental, and emotional conditions.
Alternatively, acupressure uses physical stimulation such as ear seeds (in place of needles) to achieve the same effects as acupuncture and stimulate the body’s internal pathways.
Ear seeds are an equally safe, non-invasive and highly effective tool used to access points on the auricular microsystem. Ear seeds consist of tiny seeds, beads or pellets that are held in place on the surface of the ear in very specific places with tape. No needles are involved.
The constant pressure they exert is amplified by pressing on the seeds for a few seconds, multiple times per day.
It goes without saying: proper placement is imperative to effective acupressure and acupuncture.
Can Ear Seeds Really Help Someone Lose Weight?
"Acupuncture can be a powerful tool in promoting weight loss. It is incredibly effective in regulating metabolism, decreasing cravings and reducing appetite, improving digestion, relieving stress and thereby reducing the body’s cortisol levels, regulating hormones and addressing fluid retention and bloating,” says Cheng. “Once our systems are working efficiently, it is then much easier to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.”
Auricular acupuncture is a common therapy used to control appetite by controlling grehlin, our hunger hormone. [BMJ Open Gastroenterol. Published online 2015 Feb 9.]
Controlled studies demonstrate statistically significant differences in the percentage change in body weight and active ghrelin levels in each individual participant in auricular acupuncture groups.
Auricular acupuncture may reduce appetite by suppressing ghrelin production.
In a study by Health CMi [the Healthcare Medicine institute - December 2013] Auricular acupuncture successfully treated obesity.
It was discovered that the 5-acupuncture point combination was the most effective, yielding over a 6% reduction in the body mass index. [S. Yeo, K. S. Kim, S. Lim. Randomized clinical trial of five ear acupuncture points for the treatment of overweight people. Acupuncture in Medicine, 2013]
Tova Goldschmidt, co-founder of www.earseeds.com says that weight loss is one of the most popular reasons people consider auriculotherapy. “While we would never make specific claims about individual results, some tell us they’ve lost seven pounds in two weeks and we’ve heard from people who say ear seeds have helped them lose 52 pounds in five months and everything in between."
Why Some People Don't Lose Weight With Ear Seeds...
Like with most things, giving up too quickly will likely not yield results. “Believe it or not,” says Tova, “We have received emails from some people saying, ‘These ear seeds don’t work, I haven’t lost any weight.' We ask them how long they’ve been wearing the ear seeds and usually hear back: ‘One week.'"
Although some people immediately feel a reduction in appetite and lose a few pounds within a few weeks, this experience varies.
Everyone is unique. Likewise, the cause of one person’s weight gain is likely to be very different from the next - and, that person will therefore lose weight faster (or possibly slower) than you.
If we are seeding thyroid or other endocrine issues, a person will see results that are different from someone with no thyroid issue who might be seeding for anxiety or ovarian cysts.
“Giving up too soon isn’t the way to get the best results,” says Tova. Some people give up for the very understandable reason that it might initially be uncomfortable.
As pretty as they may be, ear seeds are not just stickers! They apply pressure to sensitive areas of the ear and that may cause tenderness and pain. It’s important to remember that ear seed related pain is directly correlated to the corresponding area on your body needing treatment. It will fade as your body becomes healthier or heals.
Finally, research has suggested a connection between the vagus nerve and ear acupuncture [November 2012 - Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine2012(1):786839]
The vagus nerve is intimately linked to the parasympathetic nervous system of the heart and the digestive tract.
The parasympathetic nervous system behaves similarly to car brakes for the sympathetic nervous system – or our flight-or-fight instinct.
Ear seeds apply pressure to these “brakes,” thereby helping to arrest impulsive eating, drug, or alcohol cravings as well as panic attacks.
If interested in trying ear seeds to lose those extra pounds, it is essential to consult a training-certified, ear seed practitioner.
- Sophie Anson & the Losers' Chews team