A brand-new treatment modality known as “ear seeds” is being hailed as a miracle in drug and alcohol detox. Ear seeds are based on the principles of acupuncture, an ancient Chinese system of medicine that treats disease by inserting fine needles at specific points on the body. Ear acupuncture, or auricular therapy, is widely used in the treatment of many conditions and disorders, including substance abuse.
What Are Ear Seeds?
Ear seeds, which are small seeds of the vaccaria plant, are attached to the ear with adhesive tape, and pressed several times a day; they are used to stimulate auricular acupuncture points for prolonged periods, from a few days to a week. Each seed is placed at a particular point on the “meridian map” of the ear, which corresponds to specific areas of the body.
What Are Ear Seeds Used For?
Acupuncture, and by extension, ear seed therapy, has been proven effective in treating addiction by decreasing the amount of dopamine – the brain’s feel-good chemical – which is released in the presence of drugs, alcohol, and other addictive behaviors. This decreased level of dopamine in the brain lowers the “reward” of the substance, reducing the pleasurable buzz of drugs or alcohol.
What are The Benefits of Ear Seeds?
Ear seeds greatly amplify the benefits of auricular therapy, which has led many treatment centers to use them in detoxing patients. Pressing the ear seeds during a craving effectively reduces or removes the craving, patients say. Ear seeds are also highly effective in reducing the symptoms of withdrawal, such as anxiety, depression, and stress. Many patients report feelings of calmness and wellbeing while using ear seeds.
Studies have shown varying rates of success in using ear seeds in detox settings. Ear seeds are considered highly effective in treating opioid addiction, but less so in treating alcohol and cocaine addictions.
Using Ear Seeds During Detox & Addiction Recovery
Ear seeds should not be considered the sole source of treatment for addiction, but should be used in conjunction with other modalities such as cognitive behavioral therapy, drug counseling, and group treatment, among others. While the duration of ear seed therapy may be short, it can set patients on the road to a lifetime of abstinence and recovery.
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