Also known as acupressure beads or seeds, tiny acupressure balls attach to key points on your ears with adhesive tape. Stimulating these points can help to balance your qi or vital life energy and ease junk food cravings. You can press on the balls any time throughout the day to stimulate the points, suppress your appetite, and support your healthy diet and exercise plan. Acupressure balls are not a subsitute for conventional medical therapies.
The ear is host to pressure points that correspond to each area of the body. Stimulating a point by pressing on it helps to ensure that your body distributes qi effectively, which in turn can help you feel grounded and energized. Ear acupressure is especially effective for treating addictive behaviors, including overeating, according to the website Soft Touch Acupuncture.
Acupressure balls are made of metal or plastic. Some brands feature sets of several beads that you attach to your ear using an adhesive bandage, while others suggest using single beads in discrete locations, such as the back of the ear lobe. Some practitioners advise using magnetized beads to further enhance the effectiveness of ear acupressure. Others use the seeds of the vaccaria plant, a traditional version of the ear acupressure ball. The energy of the vaccaria plant helps to cleanse your blood and clear stale qi, according to the Yin Yang House website.
Pressure points on the ear are very close together, so it is extremely difficult to isolate the exact point that you need to stimulate for weight loss. While acupressure ball manufacturers may claim that the balls are foolproof, your best bet for effective weight loss support is to consult a Traditional Chinese Medicine, or TCM, practitioner. An acupuncturist or acupressure practitioner can show you how to place and use acupressure balls. He will also give you a personalized diagnosis, including a customized diet and exercise plan to help you feel and look your best.
Acupressure balls helped adolescents lose weight, according to a 2010 study published in the "American Journal of Chinese Medicine" by Ching Hsieh of the Department of Nursing at the Chang Gung Institute of Technology in Taiwan. During the eight weeks of the study, participants who relied on weight loss counselling alone gained .05 points on the body mass index scale. Those who used magnetic acupressure beads lost 0.7 BMI points. Vaccaria seed users had the most success, losing 1.2 BMI points on average.
When undergoing any kind of acupressure treatment, it's important to take your emotions into account alongside any physical issues, according to Michael Reed Gach, founder of the Acupressure Institute in Berkeley, California. In his book "Acupressure for Emotional Healing," Gach notes that performing acupressure can release not only physical tensions, but stored emotional experiences as well. Keep a journal to help to process any negative emotions that arise as you pursue acupressure for weight loss. Also keep in mind, that not every technique for every concern, will work for every person, in the same way.
- Soft Touch Acupuncture: Auriculotherapy
- Yin Yang House: Wang Bu Lui Xing (Vaccaria Seeds)
- The American Journal of Chinese Medicine: The Effects of Auricular Acupressure on Weight Loss and Serum Lipid Levels in Overweight Adolescents
- Acupressure for Emotional Healing; Michael Reed Gach and Beth Ann Henning