Can Ear Seeds Really Help You Stress Less and Sleep Better?

ear seedsear seeds

“Do you ever switch off?” my flatmate asked me a few months ago.

The question took me by surprise, but the answer (truthfully) was no.

I'm a chronic overthinker, but isn't an overactive mind just part of being an adult? I'm constantly thinking about anything and everything, from the smallest interaction I had with a stranger, down to my never-ending to-do list. 

It wasn't until recently when I was asked to rate my stress and energy levels before a skin treatment that I realised my inability to switch off was having a negative effect on my stress levels, sleep and general wellbeing.

For this reason, the facialist - Murad's Global Educator Katy Bacon - suggested we try ear seeding.

Um... what are ear seeds, you ask? Yep, that was my initial reaction too.

Here's everything you need to know about ear seeds, ear seed benefits and whether I found my ear seeds helpful in reducing stress.

What Are Ear Seeds?

Ever heard of acupuncture? Ear seeds work similarly, but without any needles, devices or gadgets in sight.

Rather, small beads or studs that look like dainty earrings are placed on various acupressure points in your ear to ensure your Qi (energy) is in balance.

Ear seeding, clinically referred to auriculotherapy or auricular acupuncture, is a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practice. The methodology behind ear seeding is that within the ear is a tiny map of the human body that acts like a switchboard. By stimulating different points using ear seeds, it may help balance the corresponding organ or organ system.

Murad Global Educator and Founder of Seeded Ear Seeds Katy Bacon explained, "When a point on the ear is stimulated, it sends a signal to the brain that is then transported to the area of the body being treated."

The certified auriculotherapy practitioner added, "Acupuncturists will often use needles to stimulate these points, the beauty of ear seeds is that they’re for everyone! Unlike acupuncture, ear seeds provide lighter stimulation without needles to stimulate acupoints over a longer period."

Ear seeds have become more mainstream thanks to celeb endorsements and the wellness industry. They come in different metals and styles, but what they have in common is an adhesive back that temporarily sticks and applies pressure to points on the ear.

Typically, seeds last up to five days before falling off by themselves in the shower or in bed while you're sleeping.

You can learn more about cosmetic acupuncture in this expert interview on the Beauty IQ Uncensored podcast below.

Ear Seed Benefits.

This non-invasive treatment does more than just redirect our energy flow.

According to Bacon, pressure from the seeds travels along pathways called meridians or channels. This may balance our hormones, calm the nervous system and clear blockages or built-up tension.

While we don't have a lot of clinical evidence, when placed on the right points, anecdotally, people find ear seeds may assist in the management of insomnia, mental health, stress, migraines, allergies and overall wellbeing.

My Ear Seeds Review.

Let's circle back to my facial/ear seeding appointment.

While I was happily laying under an LED light mid-skin treatment, Bacon sterilised my ear with an alcohol wipe and began peeling off the ear seeds to place them on four balance points:

  • Shen Men - This is considered a master point in auriculotherapy and known as the gateway to heaven. Bacon said seeding the Shen Men would calm my mind and bring me back to a state of receptivity.

  • Point Zero - To bring my body into balance.

  • The Heart Point - To tackle insomnia and memory loss.

  • The Kidney Point - This point focuses on regulating the kidneys and hormones during times of stress.

Here's what that looked like - don't mind the close up pic of my ear coloured by the LED light!

ear seedsear seeds

All in all, the ear seeding treatment was completely pain-free and only took a few minutes. Bacon suggested I give my Shen Men and Point Zero a squeeze whenever I felt my thoughts taking over.

As I went about the rest of my day, I couldn't feel anything on my ears. I almost forgot they were there, but as the hours passed, I applied some pressure to the seeds when I could feel my anxiety creeping in. It felt like a dull sensation, followed by heat and then a wave of relaxation.

My Verdict On Ear Seeds.

After wearing the ear seeds for a couple of days, I noticed a few things:

1. My Shen Men point was extremely sore, a sign that I took to mean my energy was shifting.

2. I was falling asleep at a decent hour (midnight versus my usual 2am).

3. More importantly, I was able to sleep through the night – an actual feat considering my thoughts usually wake me up.

4. The ear seeds looked like delicate studs, very chic.

ear seedsear seeds

Was I surprised by these small results? Definitely. Perhaps it was a Placebo effect, but I wasn't complaining.

I can't speak to the long-term benefits of ear seeding after just one treatment because as any professional would tell you, you'll get the best results through regular, consistent visits to an accredited practitioner.

So instead, I'll answer the question of whether I'd get ear seeds again with this short tale...

A few months after my initial treatment, I had one of the most stressful weeks of my life that ended with my flatmate and I getting locked out of our apartment. 

Two hours (and a very expensive locksmith) later, the first thing I did - after ensuring I knew the exact location of my keys - was pop in some at-home ear seeds for good measure.

Because even though it might seem a bit unconventional, I figure ear seeding couldn't hurt.

*This article should not be substituted for professional, personalised medical advice. Please talk to your medical practitioner.

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