TikTok planted the idea of earseed and the trend is growing fast.
In fact, Ear Seeding has racked up nearly 200 million views on the social media platform, with insomniac hopefuls hoping it will cure their sleep problems.
But what the heck are ear seeds?
The trend has its origins in traditional Chinese medicine. Auriculotherapy, more commonly known as ear acupuncture, is the application of tiny seeds to the acupuncture points on your ear.
But don’t just go to your local garden center and buy a packet of seeds to pour into your ears
Traditionally, wheat seeds come from the flowering herb Vaccaria, but today they are usually made of metal or ceramic.
They are often thought of as a needle-less version of acupuncture because the ear seeds contain glue to apply.
There are even stylized pearls such as gemstone pearls or pearls that match your skin tone.
Martin Seeley, CEO and sleep expert at MattressNextDay, knows how the seeds work, and we’re all ears.
Martin said: “Studies have shown that when used correctly, they can help relieve pain, anxiety, depression, insomnia and other conditions.
“Earseed can naturally stimulate melatonin when used properly.
Melatonin is a hormone produced naturally in your brain by the pineal gland.
“It’s the hormone that helps regulate your circadian rhythms, keep your biological clock in check, and can help with insomnia and jet lag.”
“As it gets darker, your optic nerve signals your pineal gland to naturally produce more melatonin, preparing your body for sleep.
“On your ear is an earmold that fits your pineal gland, which is located at the base of your tragus.
“Applying ear seed at this point can help stimulate the development of melatonin in your body to fight insomnia.”
If you think this could send you into a deep sleep, Martin has eight easy steps to get you started.
Clean and dry the outside of your ear
Since ear seeds come with pre-applied tape, it’s important to make sure your ears are clean before applying them.
Clean the outside of your ears with warm water and a washcloth or cotton pad.
Use the chart to find the best pressure points for a better night’s sleep
Identify where to apply ear seed to your ear based on the symptoms you want to treat.
Most home kits come with charts showing the location of specific points for symptoms such as anxiety and insomnia.
Alternatively, a trained acupuncturist can show you where to place them.
Remember never to insert ear seeds into the ear canal as they could fall in.
Use tweezers to apply your ear seeds to the pressure point
Ear seeds usually come pre-taped on duct tape – don’t touch the sticky side of the duct tape with your hands.
Peel the ear seeds from the foil with your tweezers and apply them directly to the desired pressure point. As you do this, gently press the tape to make sure it sticks.
Watch out for side effects over the next few days
Ear seeds are generally safe to use, non-invasive and do not use needles, so there is less risk of infection or bleeding associated with typical acupuncture.
However Due to the nature of ear seeds and the materials or glue on them, check your ears daily for signs of irritation such as redness, swelling, pain, and tenderness.
If you notice any of these symptoms, remove the seeds immediately. Some side effects to watch out for are dizziness, nausea, and drowsiness.
Gently massage your ear seeds daily for three minutes
Depending on the severity of your symptoms, you should try massaging your ear seeds two to three times a day or whenever you have symptoms.
Apply pressure by rubbing the seeds in a circular motion for up to three minutes.
Do not massage your ear seeds too much as this can lead to the development of sores.
Remove them every five days
Everyday activities such as exercising, washing and even sleeping can cause ear seeds to fall off on their own.
However, for hygienic reasons, it is not recommended to leave it in for more than five days.
It’s best to remove them with tweezers, but the most important thing to remember when removing ear seeds is to make sure they don’t fall into your ear canal.
To avoid this, tilt your head so that your ear is pointing towards the floor before removing them.
If a seed falls into your ear and doesn’t come out, contact your doctor as soon as possible.
Take a 24-hour break
Let your skin rest between applying ear seeds to give the skin on your ears time to breathe and recover from the ear seeds – overuse and consistent reapplication can cause pain and sores on your ears in the long run.
Preferably wait 24 hours before applying new ear seeds.
It does not work? It’s time to go to a professional
If you’ve tried self-application but still aren’t feeling the benefits of your ear seeds, you may have applied them incorrectly.
Consider seeing a trained acupuncturist to reap all the benefits of ear seeds.
If you see a trained acupuncturist, they can show you where to apply ear seeds on your ear based on the symptoms you want to treat.
It is worth noting that if you cannot sleep at all, you should seek medical help.