This text (links to PDF & Word Documents below) is a tool to support outreach and education about ear acupressure. We invite you to take and adapt the following to suit the language and needs of your communities. The NADA team is working on translating this text into Spanish, Creole, and French. We will also be launching accompanying digital materials soon. Stay tuned!
Ear Acupressure for Stress Relief
Simple ear acupressure can offer support for hard times and is especially well-suited for this global moment, which requires physical distancing. Self-massage or use of magnetic beads/seeds on the ear can offer profound benefits. Stress relief with ear acupressure is safe, non-invasive, easy and inexpensive.
There is no wrong way to do this. Massage the upper ear with your finger and thumb – how long is up to you. You’ll feel an oval-shaped depression at the upper part of the outer ear. Near and slightly above the tip of that area lies a point called Shen Men, Spirit Gate. If you put your thumb on the front and your forefinger on the back of your own ear, near the top, you will be holding Shen Men in the front and behind it, Reverse Shen Men.
There is no wrong way to do this. Massage the upper ear with your finger and thumb – how long is up to you.
When taping something on, put the bead/seed near the tip of the depression, and then repeat with the other ear. Or you can fold the ear down and put the object + tape on the backside, directly behind the tip of the depression. Trust your instinct and your intention.
After the beads/seeds are in place, you may gently press on them or let them be. They do not interfere with movement or activity and are therefore ideal for everyone. They can stay on for one to two weeks, or you can remove them if they are uncomfortable. Repeat as often as you like. Try varying the location within the zone, or alternate front and back if your ear gets irritated. Do not put anything on an open wound. Health care workers can leave them on under their personal protective equipment.
They do not interfere with movement or activity and are therefore ideal for everyone. They can stay on for one to two weeks, or you can remove them if they are uncomfortable. Repeat as often as you like.
Take calming breaths and set healing intentions. You can do this ear acupressure at any time. If you’d like, maybe arrange to do it at the same time as other people while maintaining physical distance.
WHAT YOU NEED
We recommend using gold magnetic beads or vaccaria seeds if you have them. If you do not have those materials, you can use any small round object such as a mustard seed which can be secured with any Band-Aid/medical tape or other household tape that you have available. Be creative with what you have that is bigger than a poppy seed but smaller than a peppercorn.
“We’re talking about the body wanting to heal itself. This comes from life, so you are choosing your own healing. Nature wants us to get it right.” – Michael Smith, NADA Founder
Ear acupressure helps people of all ages.
This simple technique helps everything from trauma recovery and healing, to quieting stress and anxiety, to helping with headaches and general wellness. It provides a balancing effect – some people feel sleepy while others are energized, some feel relief of depression, some seem to get a peaceful sensation of relaxation, and some don’t feel anything. Michael Smith said that it “helps kick in the body’s own healing system. It helps what needs helping.”
Adapt this outreach & education tool to be accessible to your community:
- NADA-DIY-Ear-Acupressure-English-text-version-04-10-20 (PDF without photos)
- NADA-DIY-Ear-Acupressure-English-text-version-04-10-20 (Word Document)
- Google Doc (Create a copy to edit)
Olshan-Perlmutter, M, Carter, K, Marx, J. (2019) Auricular acupressure reduces anxiety and burnout in behavioral healthcare. Applied Nursing Research, 49, 57-63. http://doi: 10.1016/j.apnr.2019.05.011.
Smith, Michael O. (2003) The Reed Academy Experience. NADA Conference, Washington, D.C., March 8, 2003.
Smith, Michael O. (1999) Use of acupressure beads in the treatment of ADHD. Clinical Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, 1:1, 31-32. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1461144999900038?via%3Dihub
Special thanks to the following NADA members for their work in shaping this important education & outreach tool: Beth Cole, Jo Ann Lenney, Adela Nieves Martinez, Libby Stuyt, Rachel Toomim, and Claudia Voyles.