Physical pain has a purpose in some cases. Say you haven’t hit the gym in months and you jump right in and lift the heaviest weight you can find. Suddenly, your back hurts. That’s your body’s way of saying, “Hey, ease up, Hulk, or you’re going to do some serious damage.” In other instances, it lets us know something’s wrong or reminds us to refrain from harmful actions like touching a hot stove. Yet, when pain is unavoidable or chronic, like the kind associated with back pain, headaches and migraines, menstrual cramps or even medical procedures, it’s in our best interest to try to manage it and make it more tolerable. A 2015 study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that ear seeds were an effective way to do just that

In the study, researchers investigated whether or not auriculotherapy could influence pain threshold. Two groups of healthy adults were recruited for the study. The first group received a two-minute long session of auriculotherapy with Vaccaria seeds adhered over the “fingers point” of one ear. The second group received sham treatment for two minutes. The subjects then applied increasing pressure with the tips of four fingers and the backs of four fingers against a round-shaped needle. The first time, they pressed until they felt a minimum pain sensation (minimal test). The second time, they applied pressure until they reached a maximally tolerable pain sensation (maximal test).

The subjects, who were real troopers by the way, did this test before auriculotherapy, one hour after treatment and 24 hours after treatment. The results showed a significantly higher pain threshold in the maximal test 24 hours after wearing ear seeds as compared to the sham treatment. The conclusion? Auriculotherapy can increase pain tolerance.

Boosting your ability to tolerate pain can be extremely helpful when it comes to that unavoidable or chronic discomfort we discussed earlier. Try one of our condition-specific kits to put the research to the test!