The pandemic scarred the globe in many different ways, from unrest, to uncertainty, to illness and death. And the negative Covid mental health ramifications, washing over society then, are still being felt as ripple effects today.
But did you know that between 2020 and 2022, auricular acupressure and ear seeds played a small role in mitigating some of the negative mental health aspects?
No, this isn’t some anecdotal story about how we at My Ear Seeds felt more at peace and ease after seeding our own ears. This is actual research, which we’re excited to summarize for you in this article. Read on!
Ear seed relief for Covid-induced insomnia & anxiety
Imagine what it must have been like in early spring of 2020 for Covid patients in hospital isolation wards. Little was known about the virus then, and victims of it truly didn’t know if death was around the corner for them. Anxiety and insomnia were among the Covid mental health effects they faced.
Researcher Luo and team conducted a short-term study during this time that sought to determine whether auricular acupressure could play a part in relieving anxiety and insomnia resulting from having Covid and being isolated.
Eighty-four adult patients with Covid were divided into two groups: intervention group receiving Vaccaria ear seeds along with standard nursing care, and control group receiving only standard nursing care. The patients with ear seeds were asked to stimulate them for one minute each time, over the course of the study when their ears were seeded.
After analyzing the data, the researchers concluded that not only were the ear seeds effective at reducing measures of insomnia and anxiety in the Covid patients, but they are safe and easy to apply too.
Ear acupressure points cited
- Fei (CO14)
- Jiaogan (AH6a)
- Shen Men (TF4)
- Pizhixia (AT4)
- Neifenmi (TF2)
Ear seed relief for Covid-induced stress
The next year of the pandemic, in 2021, academics published an article, NADA Ear Acupressure for COVID-19 Stress Management, in the Journal of Psychiatry and Psychiatric Disorders.
Their overarching conclusion was that auricular acupressure using ear seeds is an “excellent addition to the existing array of possible self-care tools to address negative emotional states including those that are a consequence of COVID-19 pandemic.” In our words, ear seeds can soften the Covid mental health blow.
They also touted these benefits of ear seeds:
- Accessible and readily available
- Easy to learn, with no barrier to entry (no diagnosis required)
- Effective at relieving symptoms
Ear acupressure points cited
- Shen Men
Real-life use case of ear seed therapy during Covid
Research studies are fascinating in their own right, but there’s something especially inspiring about real-world examples of practitioners being “boots on the ground.”
Published by ASPR TRACIE is an article featuring Eleni Fredlund, director of the New Mexico Integrative Wellness Medical Reserve Corps. During Covid, Fredlund’s team of 13 was deployed around their community to serve as part of the Covid front-line responder network.
During the height of Covid, this team, decked out in full protective gear, used ear seeds to fill gaps in conventional treatments. For example, when patients needing blood pressure medication were unable to access it, this protocol showed how to lower blood pressure instantly in an emergency. Seeding the Er Jian acupressure point of the ear provided a temporary decrease in blood pressure until they could access their medication again. Similarly, patients with tachycardia were seeded in specific ear points to help decrease their rate rates in the short-term.
Fredlund and team pay their acupressure and acupuncture knowledge and experience forward by teaching CNAs, firefighters, and staff in schools. They often reference Shen Men, Liver and Lung points when training on stress reduction techniques.
To sum it up: lightening the Covid mental health burden
While there’s evidence that ear seeds can help with certain respiratory-related issues, it’s incredible to hear that people found a certain level relief from the profound Covid mental health crisis by using something as small as ear seeds. The extent of the relief varies, of course, but in the one study referenced above, the reduction in anxiety and insomnia showed a significant and direct correlation by those in the ear seed intervention group as opposed to those in the control group.
Just one more reason to love the ear seeds!
Luo, Y., Ling, C., Liu, Y., Deng, C., Waaga-Gasser, A. M., Chen, M., He, Z., Chen, E., Wei, L., Luo, S., Gong, X., Ye, H., Zhu, J., Song, S., Wang, Q., Li, S., Gasser, M., & Lin, M. (2021). The Beneficial Role of Auricular Point Pressure in Insomnia and Anxiety in Isolated COVID-19 Patients. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2021, 6611942. https://doi.org/10.1155/2021/6611942
Olshan-Perlmutter, M. & Carter, K. NADA Ear Acupressure for COVID-19 Stress Management. Journal of Psychiatry and Psychiatric Disorders 5 (2021): 11-17.