‘Auriculotherapy helped me cope with my decade-long anxiety disorder’

‘Auriculotherapy helped me cope with my decade-long anxiety disorder’

Ear seeds helped reduce Elle Halliwell’s intrusive thoughts and poor sleep associated with her anxiety, so she decided to start her own healthy jewellery line, Auricle Ear Seeds.

Are they actually seeds? How do they stay on? Do they hurt? WTF do they do? These are the general responses I get when I tell people about ear seeds. You might have seen them adorning the ears of celebrities and health and fashion influencers on your morning Instagram scroll, and had similar questions.

Ear seeds are a tool used in auriculotherapy, a modality whereby certain points of the outer ear are stimulated via acupressure, acupuncture needles or electrical impulses to relieve pain, assist the flow of the body’s qi (life energy) or alleviate stress or addiction.

Initially, acupressure wrist bands helped with my morning sickness…

I was first introduced to acupressure in 2016 after discovering I was pregnant with my first child. Two days before my pregnancy surprise, I’d also been diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer, so my introduction into motherhood was somewhat stressful.

But even a cancer diagnosis wasn’t enough to distract me from the waves of nausea which overcame me during my first trimester.

Fortunately an acupuncturist girlfriend of mine gave me a set of acupressure wrist bands to help with the morning sickness. They were so effective I didn’t take them off for eight weeks, and acupressure therapy from then on became my go-to for everything from headaches and stress to back pain.

She later suggested I try ear acupressure (auriculotherapy) for my generalised anxiety disorder, which I have battled for more than a decade.

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What is auriculotherapy?

Essentially auriculotherapy is based on the concepts of Chinese acupuncture, whereby points are stimulated on the ear – a highly enervated part of the body – to alleviate pain or help to treat various health conditions. The modality was developed in France in the 1950s by doctor Paul Nogier, who proposed that the ear is a microcosm of the body after discovering that cauterising part of the ear alleviated sciatic pain in a number of his patients.

Stress and anxiety, weight loss, addiction and pain relief are some of the concerns which studies have found auriculotherapy can help with, but they are also used for reducing allergy symptoms, fatigue, digestive issues and insomnia.

They’re great if you don’t have the time or the money for regular acupuncture appointments or dislike needles, as the metal seeds are generally painless, stick on with clear tape and can be done at home.

Don’t worry, ear seeds are fashionable

I found ear seeds super effective in reducing the debilitating chest pressure, catastrophising thoughts and poor sleep associated with my anxiety, but the flesh-toned bandage tape they were applied with were a huge turn-off and I wore them less often then I wanted to. Last year, while completing my naturopathy studies, I discovered a more aesthetically appealing alternative to the ugly bandage-covered ear seeds – gold and silver-plated seeds.

Applied with clear tape, they actually look more like delicate gold earrings than a therapeutic tool, and every time I wear them people want to know what they are and how they work.

They’ve been spotted on celebrities such as Penelope Cruz and Kate Moss, while last year wellness icon Gwyneth Paltrow offered gold ear seed applications to guests at her Goop Wellness summit.

The healing jewels are gaining interest among health and style-conscious Aussies, so I predict it won’t be long before a few artfully-placed ear seeds become the next must-have wellness accessory.

Elle Halliwell is an author, journalist, speaker, mum and naturopath in training based in Bondi Beach, Australia. Her cancer journey in 2016 sparked a mission to help others live their best lives and she now works with charities and organisations such as The Leukaemia Foundation and Australian Organic. She is also the founder of Auricle Ear Seeds, jewellery for healing.

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