Ear Seeds for Arthritis: Benefits, Placement & Research

According to the Arthritis Foundation, arthritis is “the nation’s #1 cause of disability.” Arthritis isn’t a condition of its own. As a blanket term for “joint pain or joint disease,” it encompasses over 100 different types and conditions. Nonetheless, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are considered the most common forms. The Arthritis Foundation’s article “What Is Arthritis?” is a great starting point to learn more about these specific conditions.

Ear seeds for arthritis, joint pain, and/or inflammation is one therapy to think about using. If you already know about ear seeds and are looking to purchase some, use the button below.

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. When you click an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. These commissions help support and maintain our business. Thank you for your support!

What are ear seeds for arthritis (or other conditions)?

If you don’t know much about ear seeds and are looking to learn more, we’re glad you found us! Ear seeds are a form of ear acupressure, which is also called auriculotherapy. Auriculotherapy can include acupuncture as well, but ear seeds are not acupuncture.

Unlike acupuncture, ear seeds do not use needles, so they are not invasive. Instead, they apply a constant, gentle pressure to the ears with a tiny pellet that attaches to the ear with adhesive tape.

The simple science behind acupressure ear seeds (or even acupuncture, for that matter) is that the ear is a microcosm and microsystem of the entire body. By applying the ear seeds on specific acupressure points of the outer ear, the nerves send therapeutic signals to the specific parts or systems of the body that you are trying to treat.

So in summary, here’s what you need in order to use ear seeds:

  1. An ear seeds kit (includes ear seeds, tweezers, and alcohol wipes for removing oils off the ear)
  2. A specific condition or symptom you have decided that you want to try to use ear seeds for, such as ear seeds for arthritis (as in this article)
  3. An ear seeds placement chart or diagram (we recommend Auriculo 360, which has a free trial and an app you can download on your phone)

Note: If you’re suffering from arthritis symptoms, we also recommend that you recruit a friend or loved one to help you apply the ear seeds for arthritis. A certain level of manual dexterity is required for ear seed application, and we want you to have the support you need for getting the seeds on your ears.

After you order your ear seeds and receive them, we have an article for you: How to Apply Ear Seeds Step by Step (7 Steps to Success!). But if you want an ear seeds coach to guide you, you can also add on a virtual ear seeds consultation, which is a 30-minute virtually guided placement session you’ll do over a video call.

Where do I place ear seeds for arthritis?

As we’ve already mentioned, you cannot go wrong by using the leading auriculotherapy software, Auriculo 360, which features over 480 points and protocols from Chinese and European auriculotherapy frameworks.

Why is Auriculo 360 so great? Besides the large volume of acupoints and condition protocols, the 3D ear gives you more info than the typical 2-dimensional ear chart you’ll find online. This is because you can rotate, zoom, expand, and move the 3D Auriculo 360 ear to really understand where the ear points precisely are.

For arthritis, Auriculo 360 has two different protocols: one for osteoarthritis and one for rheumatoid arthritis. The GREEN points are primary acupressure points, and the WHITE points are secondary acupressure points.

Select 3-5 green/primary points first and seed both ears using those points. As you become more accustomed to using ear seeds and want to take your earseeding to the next level, you can branch out to the white/secondary points. Alternatively, if the primary points don’t work for you, consider trying the secondary points. Everyone’s body is unique, so what works for one person may not work for another, and vice versa.

Ear acupressure points for osteoarthritis

Where to place ear seeds for arthritis - osteoarthritis
Image used with permission by Auriculo 360 by Miridia Acupuncture Technology

Note: The .C and .E notations refer to Chinese versus European points.

Primary points:

  • Parathyroid Gland
  • Thyrotropins
  • Point Zero
  • Shen Men

Secondary points:

  • ACTH
  • Adrenal Gland.C&E
  • Elbow
  • Fingers
  • Foot.C&E
  • Knee 1 & 2 (.C&E)
  • Omega 2
  • Wrist

Ear acupressure points for rheumatoid arthritis

Where to place ear seeds for arthritis - rheumatoid
Image used with permission by Auriculo 360 by Miridia Acupuncture Technology

Primary points:

  • Adrenal Gland.C
  • Endocrine
  • Omega 2
  • Point Zero
  • Prostaglandin
  • Shen Men
  • Thalamus

Secondary points:

  • Apex of Ear
  • Helix 1-6
  • Kidney.C
  • Master Oscillation
  • Occiput
  • San Jiao
  • Spleen.C

What does the research say about ear seeds for arthritis?

One of our core values here at My Ear Seeds is to use evidence-based research to support claims of ear seeds’ therapeutic benefits. Therefore, if you’re asking, “Do ear seeds for arthritis actually work?” we turn now to peer-reviewed research as our source of truth.

Research on ear seeds for arthritis (osteoarthritis)

Regarding the effectiveness of auricular acupressure (acupressure of the ear) for older adults with osteoarthritis of the knees, a 2019 study did conclude that an 8-week course of auricular acupressure reduced joint pain, improved range of motion of the knees, and improved sleep quality in these participants.

Another study assessing ear seeds for arthritis — this one also focusing on participants with knee osteoarthritis — found that four weeks of using ear seeds for knee osteoarthritis produced “modest potential” for treating this condition. The ear seeds therapy was determined to relieve pain and reduce the need for NSAIDs in these patients.

Research on ear seeds for arthritis (rheumatoid arthritis)

A couple of studies have been conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of auricular acupressure for certain symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

The first is a study published in Medical Acupuncture in 2019, which looked at the effectiveness of “auricular plaster therapy,” another term for ear seeding, on participants with rheumatoid arthritis who also suffered from insomnia. After one month of participants in the intervention group using the ear seeds, researchers found that the insomnia of participants in the ear seeds group was markedly improved over participants’ insomnia in the control group.

Another study published in 2012 in the Journal of Clinical Nursing sought to find out if Tai Chi exercise coupled with auricular acupressure (with ear seeds) was more effective in controlling pain of participants with rheumatoid arthritis more than Tai Chi alone was. In this study, the ear seeds with Tai Chi didn’t result in a more positive outcome than Tai Chi alone, but the researchers did admit the following implication:

“Nonetheless, the benefits of Tai Chi alone were so dramatic that they are likely to have swamped any potential incremental change brought about by auricular acupressure. A very much larger study would therefore be required to test any potentiation effect of auricular acupressure alongside Tai Chi.” (Lee et al., 2012)

Where to buy ear seeds for arthritis

If you would like to see if ear seeds could help with arthritis symptoms for you or a loved one, shop our collection of ear seeds kits here. We offer 24K gold or silver stainless steel ear seeds, which you can choose from when you visit our store.

If you have any questions about ear seeds, auricular acupressure, or auriculotherapy in general, feel free to email us at info@myearseeds.com. Happy seeding!


Jang, M., Lim, Y. M., & Park, H. (2019). Effects of auricular acupressure on joint pain, range of motion, and sleep in the elderly with knee osteoarthritis. Journal of Korean Academy of Community Health Nursing, 30(1), 79-89.

Lee, H. Y., Hale, C. A., Hemingway, B., & Woolridge, M. W. (2012). Tai Chi exercise and auricular acupressure for people with rheumatoid arthritis: an evaluation study. Journal of clinical nursing, 21(19pt20), 2812-2822.

Lu, L., Liu, J., Mo, S., & Chen, H. (2019). The Effect of Auricular Plaster Therapy on Insomnia in Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Medical acupuncture31(2), 130–133. https://doi.org/10.1089/acu.2019.1346

Zhang, X., He, B., Wang, H., & Sun, X. (2022). Auricular acupressure for treating early stage of knee osteoarthritis: a randomized, sham-controlled prospective study. QJM: An International Journal of Medicine, 115(8), 525-529.

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