Vitality is defined as a state of being strong and active. But with so many things in life, achieving it can often be easier said than done. How we eat, drink, breathe, feel and think form the pillars of health, but what else can we do to achieve and maintain a state of physical Shangri la. Have you ever thought of using ear acupressure for vitality?
What Pressure Points are in the Ear?
What is truly amazing about ear acupressure is that there is a point on the ear that corresponds to every area in the body. Now you might be asking yourself how does it all fit into such a small space? Well, similar to western medicine's brain mapping technique, TCM uses the same cool visualization technique called "Homunculus" which is Latin for "Little Man".
Basically, if you flip the ear upside down, it is easy to visualize it as the shape of a small baby. The earlobe is the head. The baby's mouth is the ear hole. From there, the inner surface of the curving indentation closest to the ear canal known as the Cavum and Cymba represents the digestive tract. As the indentation travels up the ear there are corresponding points for the entire digestive tract. The esophagus, stomach, small intestine as well as large intestine can all be stimulated by way of pressure points located along this area.
But that's just the beginning! As you move outward on the ear but still within that same indentation, you have representative points for every internal organ. The heart and lungs are near the ear canal and then once again as you travel up the rear portion of that same indentation there is a point connecting to each internal organ. The spleen, liver, gallbladder, kidney, and bladder can all be stimulated through these points.
By using your fingertip to gently massage in and along that indentation you can easily give yourself a free acupressure treatment and stimulate all ten major yin and yang organs in the body. Now that's Self-heath Care!
As you continue to move your attention outward on the ear you come in contact with the ridge of ear cartilage that makes up the Antitragus and Antihelix. This ridge represents the baby's skull and spine. The points on the Antitragus deal with conditions related to the forehead, temple, and occiput of the skull, and then as you travel up the ridge from there, you can stimulate the cervical spine, the thoracic spine mid-way up, and the lumbar spine on the larger area near the top of the ear.
Once again by using your fingertips to gently massage along this ridge of cartilage, you can stimulate the Qi within every vertebrae and disc in your spine, improving the health of your back and neck, and finally, give your chiropractor the day off!
Finally, exploring the outer side of the ridge you will once again find yourself in another long indentation known as the Scaphoid Fossa. This grove represents the baby's arm from shoulder to fingertip. The clavicle near the bottom, the shoulder halfway up, then the elbow, wrist, and fingers respectively as you make your way to the top.
But let's not forget those luscious lobes! I bet you never gave it a moment's thought that during those steamy nights in the back seat of mom's car nibbling on someone's ear lobe, that you were actually improving the health of their eyes, ears, throat, teeth, and tongue. Well, ....maybe you thought about their tongue.... but I digress.
What does ear acupressure do?
For thousands of years, millions of people have used acupressure techniques to stimulate the body's very own self-healing mechanism. By applying pressure by way of fingers or needles, the autonomic nervous system can be stimulated to shift from fight, flight, or freeze to rest, digest, and heal. As that happens, our cortisol stress hormones release is replaced with feel-good serotonin and dopamine opioid production. All in effect to turn on the body's self-healing system. Similar to body acupressure or acupuncture, applying auricular (ear) acupressure can be used to stimulate energetic movement throughout the body. Qi moves fluid, and fluid nourishes tissue. When it comes to health, a body possessing smooth movement of Qi as well as moistened and nourished tissue is one that is also filled with life and vitality.
What is the 5 point ear acupuncture used for?
Many people are familiar with the 5 point ear acupuncture technique known as the NADA (National Acupuncture Detoxification Association) protocol. The acupressure points stimulate areas corresponding to the Sympathetic, Shen Men, Kidney, Liver, and Lung. This combination of pressure points was made famous by the US military who continue to use it for PTSD in their soldiers. The specific points are used to treat all forms of addiction including alcohol, smoking, and drugs as well as, anxiety, stress, and post-traumatic disorders. The protocol is applied with both acupuncture needles as well as the use of Vaccaria Seed acupressure.
Do Acupressure ear seeds work?
Vaccaria seeds used for acupressure are basically small hard seeds stuck to a piece of surgical tape. They are small and hard enough to apply pinpoint pressure on specific acupressure points in the ear. The benefit of using seeds is that they can provide continual stimulation of the acupuncture points for extended periods of time. Once applied, seeds can remain in place until they fall out. They will often last one to two weeks and can be of great help in the treatment of addiction and anxiety between acupuncture treatments.
Whether you use an acupuncture needle, acupressure seeds, or simply acupressure massage (tuina), stimulating the pressure points on the ear is an effective way to treat a myriad of internal conditions. However, TCM has always held a prophylactic approach to health. We don't wait till there is a problem to treat the body. We treat to make sure the body doesn't get problems! Spending only a few minutes a day you can use ear acupressure for vitality and maintain the overall health of your mind and body and keep your internal Shangri la clearly in sight.. give it a try.