If you are looking to lose weight, treat anxiety or relieve pain, the answer may be in your ear.
Ear acupuncture, also known as auricular therapy, helps regulate the body's internal organs, structures and functions. It has been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine, and can help treat various health conditions, from pain reduction and addiction, to weight loss, stress and anxiety.
"The ear is a complex microsystem with each point corresponding to an organ or area of the body," says Noel Tarver, licensed acupuncturist at the Sewall Healthy Living Center at Sharp Coronado Hospital. "Similar to body acupuncture, the therapy stimulates these points to promote healing to other parts of the body."
"Ear acupuncture can be either incorporated into a full body acupuncture treatment or performed as a stand-alone therapy," Tarver says. "The process involves inserting needles into specific points on the ear."
Typically, therapists use disposable stainless steel needles to stimulate ear acupuncture points. However, for longer-lasting stimulation, therapists may place ear tacks or small seeds from the vaccaria plant on various parts of the ear.
These seeds are held in place on the ear with small pieces of adhesive tape. The seeds or tacks may be left on the ear for up to a week. The process is painless and allows you to enjoy the effects of acupuncture after you leave your session.