Article by Margaret Boswell, LAc, MSOM
This point is traditionally used to treat anxiety, stress, and pain anywhere in the body.
"The Chinese Shen Men point has been recognized for its application in many pain and dysfunctional conditions. With pain conditions, Shen Men is often considered to be a primary point for treatment. Neuropsychoemotionally, it is considered to alleviate apprehension, fear, anxiety, and to help regulate the sympathetic nervous system. Shen Men is regularly employed in addiction treatments. It is also recognized for its role in the treatment of inflammation. The presence of an electrically active or tender Shen Men is regarded by the Chinese auricular acupuncturist as an indication of neurasthenia or the presence of pain."
Shen Men A Critical Assessment through Advanced Auricular Therapy by Bryan L. Frank MD and Nader Soliman, MD
There are a few different ways that this point can be stimulated. An acupuncturist can put very small needles into the point, this is called auricular acupuncture. Another way that your acupucnturist can stimulate this point is to put semi-permanent needles into your ear. These needles are very tiny and are inserted just under the skin and then a small piece of surgical tape is applied over the needle to keep out oil, water and dirt and keep the needle in place for a few days.
Ear seeds are similar to the semi-permanent needles, but do not puncture the skin. This is called acupressure. Vicaria seeds are typically used and come already attached to a very small piece of surgical tape. It is applied over the point and left in place for a few days. Other ways to do acupressure include magnetic beads, stainless steel beads, gold or silver beads. There are even decorative beads with crystals attached to the tape over the bead, so that only the crystal shows. Another way that this point can be stimulated is with your fingers simply by rubbing the point.
Some practitioners will stimulate the auricular points with a "tens" unit, which sends an electrical microcurrent through the point. Although all of these methods produce results, in my opinion, continuous stimulation for a few days at a time, as with ear seeds or semi-permanent needles is the most effective for chronic pain.
There are many points located on the ears, each with specific associations in the body. The Chinese System uses the Traditional Chinese Medicine(TCM) organs and meridian associations. The Nogier( a French Neuroscientist) system is based on the nerves that go out to the ears.
Although just one point will have an effect, often when 4 or 5 points are combined into an auricular prescription, you will get more profound results. When you go to a professional for treatment, you will get a personalized point prescription.
The ear seed kits contain everything you need to apply ear seeds on your own, including charts, tweezers, seeds. The kits will give you a point protocol that is known to be effective for most people for the condition specified.
The location of the shen men point is on the helix, or upper portion of the ear, just inside the triangular area. This is the point that we will be using today with ear seeds.
Before applying the seeds, be sure to clean the area throroughly with an alcohol swab. This will remove oil and anything else from the ear. Then take tweezers and peel the seed from the paper. Place it on the point, and using your other hand, press it into place. to stimulate the point, all you need to do is press on the seed with your finger. The seeds will stay in place for 3 to 5 days. They can be worn in the shower, just be careful to not scrub tha area with soap while the seed is in place. You may remove it at any time. it can be tossed into any trash receptical. Please remove the seed if you have any redness or irritation.
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