By Kristianne Seelye, LAc, Dipl OM
We have all been at a place at one time or another when stress has been prevalent in our lives. Whether it was due to a lack of sleep, an ill parent or the death of a loved one, the degrees of stress can vary and so can the way that we manage it. Maybe you cope by taking a nap, or maybe you seek out talk therapy. There are many ways to cope with stress.
As an acupuncturist, I firmly believe in the theory that acupuncture can help calm and bring the body back to balance. Acupuncture has provided thousands of years of relief from stress and pain to billions, but how many of you can find an acupuncturist at 1 a.m. when you are tossing and turning from overwhelming thoughts or ideas?
During stressful times, people tend to rub their ears, face, hands and head. Have you ever watched the insanely brave riders at Valleyfair’s Power Tower? As they await their drop, many brave souls manage their stress by moving their feet back and forth before they free fall 250 feet to the ground. “Rub your ears!” I shout, as if they can hear me. This is an example of the riders’ own innate way of trying to calm their body. Whether it is your face, hands, feet or…yes, even your ears, rubbing or moving these body parts is the body’s way to cope in stressful situations.
Auricular acupuncture technique is similar to reflexology. It works by stimulating cells that contain information from the whole organism. These cells are “organization centers” that represent different parts of the body.1 Simply put, your ear represents your whole body. Therefore, stimulating a point in your ear can relieve symptoms that your body is experiencing, whether it comes in the form of pain, stress, lack of sleep, etc.
You can treat yourself by stimulating these points by simply taking the time to massage your ears. Give it a try using these simple instructions:
- Start with your inner ear and your index finger. Place a clean index finger on the inside of your outer ear.
- Move from the inside of your ear to your outer ear cartilage.
- Be generous in the amount of time you spend (about three to five minutes for each ear).
- Use your thumb and index finger as you get towards the top of your ear, holding the cartilage between your two fingers.
- Pay attention to the sore areas of your ears and slowly move your fingers around these areas, spending more time in on the tender parts.
- Repeat this as often as you need.
When I cannot quiet my mind, I lie down and massage my ears. Do your body and mind a favor and give your ears the attention they need during this holiday season. Your ears and others will thank you.