Magnets and Seeds
I first saw the use of ear seeds on small children in Nanjing, China, used as an alternative to needles, though I did see needles used in children in China, too. The seeds are from a specific plant called vaccaria. It’s common name is cow soapwort. In the early days of NADA we all used these seeds. They are small, hard, and round. It’s a good size for use on the ears. It doesn’t degenerate. In fact I still have a bag of seeds I purchased in China in 1984 and they look perfectly fine in 2016! The seeds are stuck onto the ear with a small square or circle of medical tape. The tape will hold it against the skin for as long as a week or more. The effect comes two ways: from the initial pressure of the tape holding it tightly against the skin, and then from finger pressure squeezing against the seed and ear cartilage.
Eventually an entrepreneur created a metal bead to do the job using silver or gold plate or stainless steel. In addition we were offered a different choice, a magnet. For years I bought 100 gauss magnets. Then I learned Dr. Smith prefers 800 gauss so I bought those too. Then I looked online for the meaning of gauss and read that it’s meaningless in terms of strength of a magnet (http://www.biomagnetics.com/What-About-Gauss.html) so I advise you to not worry about the gauss and just use magnets that are the price and have features that work for your clients. The clients’ll tell you if they work.
The tapes holding the magnets offer choices. There are light colored square tapes of various shades of peach and tan and clear round tapes but no tapes that match the skin shades of people of color. Some day someone will notice this business opportunity.
What is the outcome of using such a needle-free technique? Sometimes the effect is powerful. One teen with severe ADHD found the seed behind his ear allowed him to switch off his urge to talk aloud or walk around the classroom. After years of struggling and using multiple pharmaceutical drugs to vainly attempt to control his behavior, forcing his family to move from one city to another due to his troubles in school, the seed transformed his and his family’s life. He squeezed his ear in class and was able to settle back down.
Another teen with Down Syndrome and ADHD dramatically changed the way she drew a self-portrait after a seed was applied to her ears.
Why does this work? A seed works by pressure. First it’s the pressure of the tape against the skin just at the point on the ear where a nerve branch, probably from the vagus nerve, is connected to the endorphin system. After some time the seed works because the client presses on it, repeating the pressure daily.
But after the initial pressure of the metal against the skin from the tape attaching it there, why should a tiny magnet change behavior? Perhaps because circulating in our blood are ions, which are charged particles. When you see calcium written it’s a C with two plusses, showing a positive charge. Chloride is written Cl with a minus showing it’s got a negative charge. Some protein molecules are also negatively charged.
And what about our whole nervous system? It works on the basis of the relatively greater negative charge inside vs outside the nerve cell through the transfer of sodium and potassium ions across the membrane. That difference in relative charge sends electrical energy down nerves to carry the messages of our entire life, our memories, our moods, our behavior. Our bodies are electromagnetic! It‘s a wildly exciting place electrically. And a magnet interacts with this system.
Where can you place the magnets? If you’re an ADS the answer is on the NADA 5 points. If you’re an acupuncturist or physician the answer is wherever you want to! But there are places that are more active than others. For example, if we use a point finder on the ear we can locate the places that allow greater electrical conductivity than nearby skin. Interestingly, those are the acupuncture points.
Where is it difficult to place? Sympathetic and kidney. That’s why we usually place the magnets just on Shenmen, Liver, and Lung. Some programs just use Shenmen.
We often use the back of the ear because it stays on for over a week even after showers and sweating and doesn’t cause others to comment or ask questions a person might not want to answer.
Sometimes, because I’m an acupuncturist and I can choose what I do, I respond to an individual situation that has arisen like the person is pulled out of group in the middle of my acupuncture session for a meeting with a counselor or medical professional and is feeling cheated, I say, “I’m going to give you a double whammy today and put the magnet on the front and the back.” That makes the client feel better about having to leave early and makes it especially easy for the client to feel the location, because you want the client to feel where to press and keep pressing for the rest of his or her life, long after graduation from that program.