Auricular Medicine is a separate branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine which focuses on managing physical and emotional issues using reactive points of the ear. While western medical massage models focus on the feet to treat the reflex points of the body, an acupuncture physician looks to the ear to treat reflex points using ear seeds.
Using a small, blunt instrument to probe the ear lobe for tender points, your acupuncturist will locate tender points specific to your complaints. After swabbing your ear with alcohol, the acupuncturist will apply tiny plant seeds attached to bandaids to those tender points. The patient leaves the seeded band-aids on the ear for five days. Each day, the patient massages the ear and presses the seeds at regular intervals to activate the points and remind the brain to stimulate healing in the reflex points.
Sometimes, the ear seeds do their work shorter than five days, and the points become non-reactive (not tender). In that case, the patient can remove the non-reactive seeds before the five days is up and concentrate on stimulating the remaining seeds. After five days, the patient takes out all the seeds. After a day of rest, the acupuncture physician can replace the seeds, if needed, to continue working on the physical or emotional issue.
Ear seeds work best when the patient is willing to do their homework and stimulate the seeds a few times a day. It is common to feel an achiness, throbbing, or other discomfort when the seeds are in. This means the treatment is working. If the discomfort is more than what you find tolerable or if you notice physical changes in your ear, please contact your acupuncturist and she/he will advise you further.