The Vagus Nerve and Ear Seeds
The Vagus nerve is the longest of the cranial nerves and controls your inner nerve center — the parasympathetic nervous system. As part of the autonomic nervous system that runs through the entire body, this nerve sends messages between the brain and various systems and body parts.
Ear seeds are a non-invasive way to stimulate the Vagus nerve. We're able to use ear seeds for many conditions because the nerve oversees a huge range of crucial functions, communicating sensor and motor impulses to every organ in your body. New research has revealed that it may also be the missing link to chronic inflammation and much more.
What is the Vagus Nerve?
Sometimes called the "wandering nerve" the Vagus nerve is the longest nerve in the human body and travels from the base of the brain up into the ears and down into the lower intestines. Vagus nerve stimulation via the external ear using electronic devices has been shown to increase the "relaxation response" of the parasympathetic nervous system and reduce the fight-or-flight stress responses driven by the sympathetic nervous system.
One study showed that using electrical Vagus nerve stimulation devices that are applied to a specific region of the external ear activates the parasympathetic system in ways that reduces inflammation. A new study also reported that self-administered, non-invasive Vagus nerve stimulation via the outer ear — performed at least 15 minutes daily for two weeks at home — boosted "rest and digest" parasympathetic activity in a group of adults more than 55 years old.
According to researchers, as we age, the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system starts to dominate; this autonomic imbalance reduces optimal bodily functions and makes us more susceptible to illness as we get older. On the other hand, the above research suggests that stimulating the Vagus nerve through the outer ear can help support your body in rebalancing your autonomic nervous system and support your body’s response to aging in people 55 years or more.
How Do Ear Seeds Benefit the Vagus Nerve?
There have been many successful studies done to show the benefits of ear seeds and auricular acupuncture. Studies are on-going to see the potential applications for conditions such as grief, trauma, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), and addiction. Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) has received a lot of research and attention because of the impressive results it has yielded in many areas. Because the Vagus nerve is the longest cranial nerve and performs many things in the parasympathetic nervous system, VNS has been shown to be effective at calming the central nervous system.
How Does it All Work?
The brainstem and subcortical area of the brain are connected to the vagus nerve. You can stimulate the Vagus Nerve on the surface of your ear through auricular therapy. Ear seeds stimulate powerful pressure points on your ear, tapping into your parasympathetic nervous system. These pressure points can have powerful effects on headaches, PMS symptoms, stress and tension, sleeping issues, and more. Because the Vagus nerve is connected to anti-inflammatory responses, VNS has been used by people with conditions with root causes in inflammation. The concha, intertragic notch, and tragus of the ear can all be stimulated to access the Vagus nerve. Some people may have branches in the other parts of the ears but the Vagus nerve runs most superficially just near the tragus which can be easily stimulated with ear seeds.
How to Properly Use Ear Seeds
Ear seeds were traditionally derived from the seeds of the Vaccaria plant (hence the term “seeds”), however, modern ear seeds are usually made of metal or small magnets. The ear seeds are attached to an adhesive tape to allow the user to secure them into the specific acupuncture point in the ear. To amplify the effect of the ear seeds, it is best to lightly massage the seed using your fingertip throughout the day. The seeds are then left in place in between three to five days. It's also recommended to wait up to 24 hours before reapplying ear seeds to give your skin a chance to breathe after removal.
Once the ear seeds are in place, there's no need to remove them — simply go about your day as you normally would. There's no need to remove them for bathing, sleeping, playing sports or any other activities. Sometimes people feel immediate effects from the presence of auricular acupuncture seeds while other times, it can take longer to feel their effect. While this is similar to the effects of acupuncture, ear seeds are non-invasive, so no needles are used.
Placement of Ear Seeds
Depending on the symptoms you are experiencing, you will apply ear seeds to specific pressure points targeting those issues. Cosma starter sets all come with placement charts to help get you started using ear seeds at home.
In conclusion, the microsystem of the ear and Vagus nerve has the potential to help individuals experience significant results. And because ear seeds can be used at home and not only in an office setting, you can take charge of your own health and wellness. Learning specialized points based on your own needs is a powerful way to support a healthy lifestyle or complement other therapies.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.