Why do ear seeds work?
The science behind auriculotherapy
Modern life is intense. For our nervous systems, which haven’t evolved much since our days wandering the savannahs of Africa, it can sometimes feel as though a pack of lions is nipping at our heels from the moment our alarms go off until our heads hit the pillow again.
So it’s never been more important that we give our vagus nerve – the nerve responsible for controlling our parasympathetic nervous system and our mind/body connection - plenty of love and attention.
When we’re in our parasympathetic state, we’re in a “rest and digest” pattern, allowing for cell renewal, detoxification and adrenal restoration.
It’s incredibly important to support this aspect of our body, as poor vagal tone can manifest itself in issues such as chronic anxiety disorder, depression, weight gain, addiction, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), heartburn and chronic inflammation.
And what’s one of the quickest ways to reach this state?
By stimulating our vagus nerve!
By doing this, we can lower our blood pressure, reduce our heart rate and chill the hell out.
There are a few ways to achieve this vagus nerve stimulation, thanks to its omnipresence in our body; it’s the longest of our nerves and stretches all the way from our colons to our heads – weaving itself through most major organs on the way through.
It’s branches also stretch to - you guessed it – our ears.
Our auricles (the outer parts of our ears) contain many nerve endings, acting as a channel or pathway to our parasympathetic nervous systems.
Studies conducted by researchers from the University of Leeds in 2019 showed stimulation of an area of the outer ear for 15 minutes a day for two weeks reduced the “fight or flight” response in volunteers, as well as significantly improving sleep, mood and autonomic balance compared to the placebo group (Bretherton et al, 2019).
Breath exercises, laughter, yoga practice and cold water therapy are also some of the ways to tap into our vagus nerve, reducing our cortisol levels and bringing our body back into its relaxation state.
It’s for this reason we at the Auricle recommend taking a few slow deep breaths prior to applying your acupressure ear seeds, to ensure your vagus nerve is primed, the fight or flight mode is switched off and your body is ready to begin its self-healing journey.