A practitioner of Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture, Olivia Inge was the perfect 'guinea pig' to road-test Vie Healing's slightly weird (but very wonderful!) {Ear Seeds}. Evangelical about the healing benefits of these ancient methods, Olivia successfully treats many common conditions - from insomnia to irregular/painful periods, migraines to anxiety - via traditional Eastern techniques. We'll hand you over to her for some insights about these ingenious, possibly puzzling (?!) additions to our 'Hall of Fame'...

“If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration,” wrote Nikola Tesla, and, thousands of years ago, practitioners of Chinese Medicine did exactly this - mapping a series of pathways throughout the human body which they named 'meridians'.

These pathways travel up and down, front to back and side to side - connecting every biological structure, organ and gland - and can be 'activated' via certain points (acupuncture points) to exhibit specific effects on both body and mind. Qi energy - or vital energy - flows through these meridians; a vital spark within our 'machine' that animates and brings life to the body.

Qi ought to flow smoothly however, when this energy flow becomes blocked - a bit like an elastic band around your finger - this can lead to pain and imbalance. When a blockage occurs in a meridian, a variety of signs and symptoms will appear depending on the organ that's involved. It is my goal to identify where Qi has been restricted, uncover the root of the problem and reinstate the free flow.

To do this, I have a tool-kit which contains (very small!) needles, moxa, cupping cups, jade guasha, and these 24k gold seeds. Inserting needles, applying acupuressure, burning moxa or placing these seeds on specific acupuncture points, stimulates the nervous system and causes the release of neurochemical messenger molecules which influence the body’s homeostatic mechanisms (your personalised pharmacy!). This is the process your body goes through in order to heal itself.

One of the advantages to using these seeds is that they are pain-free. They work well on needle-phobic patients, frequent fliers, babies and children, those with addictions or weak constitutions. Just recently, I used them on a younger patient (1 y/o) who had caught a pathogen that had kept her awake at night with a cough. I put the seeds on a point called “Stop Coughing” (some points do exactly what they say on the tin!) to calm the cough and open the pathway.

The next night she slept through, cough free! Another patient I have, suffers from jet-lag so I gave her a strip of seeds and marked up the points where she ought to place each seed pre-flight. When she arrived in Los Angeles, her body clock had been reset and aligned to LA time which dramatically increased her concentration, circulation and enabled her to have better sleep patterns.

I have a patient who gets easily frustrated, depressed and moody. She also suffers from irregular periods and headaches. To help prolong her monthly treatment, she uses these seeds. She places them on “Great Surge”, “Wind Pool” and “Shen Men” to regulate her periods, reduce the frequency of her headaches and calm her mind.

When I prescribe these seeds, they come with a few guidelines:

• Place the seeds on the point where I have marked.

• Use a pair of tweezers for ease and precision.

• Check the seeds every 12 or so hours.

• The seeds can be kept on for up to a week.

• If they look like they are beginning to come unstuck, the old one can be removed and a new one put in its place. The original one will leave a mark which makes the correct positioning of the new one straightforward.

• If the seed or its sticking tape causes irritation to the skin, take the seed off and wait until the irritation has disappeared and then try again. You may not react in the same way in the future.

All 37.2 trillion cells that co-exist in your body want you to be in a balanced, homeostatic state of health. But modern, 21st Century lives are chaotic, stressful and exhausting! We often go against the natural flow – we work too hard, go to bed late, skip breakfast, inhale toxic fumes on our daily commute.

So how can a small gold sphere help?

In energetic terms, gold, and specifically 24k pure gold, is warming and stimulating (whereas silver is cold and inhibiting). Gold brings a soothing vibration; it picks up energy from the surrounding area and boosts blood supply. Since healing is aided by the growth of new cells replacing the dead ones, the body heals faster and better.

The seeds are commonly placed on points around the ear, but you can place them on any acupuncture point on the body. The effect is that of a continual, low-dose stimulation to a point.

Seeds on the ear can address specific symptoms whilst seeds on the body are used to treat the underlying imbalance. For example, the point "Shen Men" (as mentioned above) is not only great at calming the mind but it also help sleep disorders; the spleen point works on any digestive disorder as well as anxiety; Great Surge is used to promote the free flow of liver Qi in the head and in the uterus.

In your pack of {Vie Seeds}, you will find a diagram of an ear with various points and their descriptions. The current theory of ear acupuncture is a mixture of old and new. According to ancient Chinese Medical texts, the ear does more than to act as a decorative place to hang diamonds and safety pins! They are the external manifestation of the kidneys. If the kidneys are weak, hearing may be impaired – this can be a cause of tinnitus.

The new theory comes from French physician, Dr Paul Nogier, who in 1951 began experimenting with auricular (ear) acupuncture on patients with sciatica. His results were so good, he redesigned the map of auricular acupuncture points based on the concept of an inverted foetus.

He discovered that every point on the ear corresponds to a part of the body. It’s like a switchboard next to the brain, which offers access to the body’s energetic meridians - a microcosm through which we can influence and treat the macrocosm (the body). By stimulating the points, you can influence the corresponding organ or body part and aid the body’s natural healing process (a simplified map is included in your {Vie} ear seeds pack).

Before using these seeds, it is key that you have a diagnosis from a fully insured, degree-level acupuncturist. The British Acupuncture Council has a list of acupuncturists (and the address of their clinics) who comply with these requirements. Your acupuncturist will take a detailed medical history which covers all your systems from the nature of your sleep to diet and your menstruation cycle. They then tailor a treatment plan for your specific needs. Your practitioner will show you where the most effective acupuncture points are to place the gold seeds and how to apply them.

From personal experience, the work I do in clinic is more effective when the patient integrates the advice I give into their daily lives. These seeds are excellent at helping patients prolong and engage with their treatment.

Treating bodily dysfunctions with preventative and natural medicine is more valuable than gold. Just ask the rich man who has lost his health!

by Liv Inge, BSc, LicAc, MBAcC

Visit {www.livinge.co.uk} for more information about Olivia and her practice, contact The Brackenbury Clinic on 0208 741 9264 or email liv@livinge.co.uk for bookings.

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