Illustration: Beth Morris
Up until a few months ago, I had never heard of ear seeding. Now the wellness treatment, used to help with everything from anxiety to stress, seems to be everywhere—just in Toronto, it’s offered at Well BYND Naturopathic Clinic, Hoame and a number of acupuncture clinics across the city. The Goop MRKT pop-up in Yorkville even brought in a specialist from New York for an intuitive reading and ear seeding session last week.
We reached out to the two naturopathic doctors behind the Toronto-based clinic Well BYND, Emily Fitzgerald and Erica Arcuri, to find out more about this trending treatment, including the two main types of ear seeds and how long they will stick on your ears.
Here’s what you should know about ear seeding, according to Fitzgerald and Arcuri.
What exactly is ear seeding?
“Ear seeding, aka auriculotherapy, is a modality that comes from Traditional Chinese Medicine practices. It is a super easy, non-invasive treatment we often send patients home with that they can also apply themselves. There are hundreds of acupuncture points in the ear corresponding to every organ, hormone and system. Rather than using needles, we use tiny little seeds on skin tape that are applied to different points. Once the seed is in, you can gently apply pressure and massage the point to calm the nervous system and relax the body.”
What are the two types of ear seeds?
“Vaccaria seeds, which are good for people who are sensitive to metals, are applied to the ear with the help of tan-coloured tape that contains latex. Seeds made of metal pellets, crystals or beads stay on using clear tape, which is latex-free.”
How long do they last?
“We tell our patients to keep the ear seeds in for as long as they stay! Usually they will fall out on their own after about 3-4 days. If they are still in by the fifth day, we recommend taking them out for hygienic reasons. We also suggest giving the ear a one day break between replacing any ear seeds, to decrease any chance of skin irritation.”
Can anyone get ear seeds? Are there any potential side effects?
“Ear seeds are generally safe to use. If you have sensitive skin or a latex allergy, metal seeds or adhesive tape might cause some irritation. However, we use vaccaria seeds which tend to be more gentle. There is always a very small risk of dizziness, nausea, or drowsiness with any stimulation of energetic acupuncture or acupressure points, so it is always best to check in with your healthcare provider before receiving treatment.
How did you come to offer it at the clinic? Is there a specific certification or training that your practitioners take?
“As Naturopathic Doctors (NDs), we receive 3 years of training in Traditional Chinese Medicine theory and acupuncture. Auricular acupuncture is a part of this curriculum. Not all NDs or acupuncturists will incorporate this into their practices; however, we find it so effective at helping our clients achieve that ultimate state of relaxation and to produce longer lasting effects post-treatment.”