Meditation and Ear Seeds
Anxiety, as many sufferers will know, can be such a debilitating condition. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older or 18.1% of the population every year. Physical symptoms include nausea, hyperventilation, palpitations, and a choking sensation. As a result, coping mechanisms can be very beneficial to individuals with anxiety.
One way that many of us use to combat anxiety is by relaxing through meditation. The mindfulness trend continues to grow with numerous meditation groups and countless apps ready for download. The pursuit of peace is much needed in our fast-paced, high functioning lives, especially for those who experience a lot of stress or anxiety.
What Are Ear Seeds?
Ear seeds are small balls of gold or silver, with adhesive tapes so they can stick to your ears. They are frequently applied to the ear but can also be used in other parts of the body. These are usually disposable and tend to fall off on their own accord, usually after three to five days.
Ear seeds are a form of auricular acupuncture; a powerful tool used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to access the specific points on the ear which correlate to different effects both physical and mental.
What Are the Benefits of Ear Seeds?
By intermittently applying pressure directly onto the ear seed using your fingertips, you will trigger acupressure points to experience powerful effects. Ear seeds essentially work by the same principles of acupuncture, but on a smaller scale. Ear seeds have plenty of benefits to offer when it comes to relaxation and positive effects on:
Stress and Anxiety
Independent studies have shown that ear seeds have a particularly powerful impact in treating psycho-emotional patterns. From a biomedical standpoint, the physicality of applying fixed pressure to ear seeds sets off a chain reaction in the neurological pathways that connect the ear to the brain. This has been shown to reduce physical pain, boost our mental clarity, and support your body’s immunity. Studies have also found that the application and subsequent pressure that is applied to the ear seeds release endorphins to the brain and pituitary gland, which results in promoting a sense of well-being and a reduction in physical pain.
By placing ear seeds on Shen Men (stress point) and Point Zero (hormones) we're able to relax the mind and balance our hormone levels. To get into a further state of relaxation, it's best to pair your ear seeds with relaxing sound therapy and essential oils. Gently press on the seeds to give them a boost when you're trying to fall asleep.
Ear seeds can have an impact on many kinds of pain. To treat headaches, use the When Men point to relax the mind, along with the neck and shoulder point (since neck and shoulder tension can lead to headaches). Gently massage the seeds when you're feeling pain and will work even better when coupled with magnesium to relax the muscles.
How Ear Seeds Work With Meditation
Just like a muscle, it takes time and effort to tone and build strength. Many people have found that acupuncture and ear seeds give their mind and body a reference point for how to turn off and tune in. Like muscle memory, the body remembers the motions when it's time to sit and quiet the mind. Paired with ear seeds, meditation can help us reach a deeper state of calm and can also center us.
Both ear seeds and meditation work on the parasympathetic nervous system, the "rest and digest" functions of the body when you're in the mood to relax. Whenever you leave your place of relaxation, always remember to take long exhales. This process begins to settle the sympathetic nervous system (known as the fight or flight stress response) by toning the Vagus nerve with parasympathetic fibers that branch into our organs. Practicing breath awareness can be a great tool for meditators who've just begun, as deep breathing signals your system to slow down and enter a restful state.
This step teaches you how to sit with yourself and practice being in the here and now. Mindfulness helps us to become aware of our wandering minds so that we can bring our attention back to the present. Practice catching yourself when creating stories about the past and future, and let your ear seeds lead you towards a deeper state of awareness by rubbing them beforehand. Then practice being "here in the now" — this simple mantra will help you to stay present in your meditation and ear seed session.
Ear seeds and acupuncture stimulates the energy inside our bodies and helps it to flow smoothly throughout our bodies. Simply find a comfortable seat and simply observe what it's like to be in your body. Take a short journey and scan your body; release the jaw and soften the brows, open the hands, and drop the shoulders, loosen the legs and relax the glutes. Using focused attention, you can guide your own sensations through your body — energy flows where intentions go.
Meditation is more than just "not thinking" — your brain is wired to think and process, but neuroplasticity says that we can require habits that have made us feel stuck. Try not to be discouraged when your mind starts to race — instead, continue to catch yourself and return back to where you are. With practice mental clutter can start to get organized, allowing for more space between thoughts. There are many acupuncture points that help to calm the spirit and help to untangle the knots that clear the mind for new perspectives. Just like waves on the shore, thoughts will naturally drift in, allow them to arise and pass away.
By the end of your ear seed and meditation session, you should feel a calming sense of stillness in the room. The sensation varies from person to person; for some, it feels as though the tension has melted and calmness has settled in its place. Perhaps you fell asleep or maybe it felt like you were hovering in an etheric space. Over time, you will be able to enter this same calming space with deep meditation with practice, while you can also train yourself to drop into this state faster.
Meditation and Ear Seeds in Daily Life
Because acupuncture and TCM practices have been with us for thousands of years, it's no surprise that it can be a complex process. To get the best from your ear seeds, they need to be placed in the right areas to treat your needs accordingly. You can either attend a meditation class for proper instructions on how to sit, breathe, and how to cope with a racing mind or check out a variety of low-cost or free apps for at-home meditation!
Make the time for yourself to meditate every day and keep up with it. Applying acupuncture and ear seeds is a great tool for putting ourselves in a meditative state, allowing the body to go back to when it can remember what it feels like to rest. Because these two ancient techniques are so powerful, there's no need to ask why they've stood the test of time.