Getting Your Ears Pierced May Help With Anxiety
Updated: Feb 23
With mental health becoming a regular conversation more and more people are seeking for help. Unfortunately therapy can be very costly and being prescribed a variety of medications at a time doesn’t really solve the problem but creates a dependance. These factors and more have led to a surge of people seeking for alternative therapy that may be less costly and may have less of an overall effect on the body. Some methods that have arisen are acupuncture, and as an extension from it - ear piercings.
What is acupuncture?
To get a better idea as to where the belief that ear piercings help with anxiety, we’ll start at the root cause. Acupuncture according to Acupuncture Canada is a form of ancient traditional Chinese medicine that is considered essential to health. It stimulates the balance and flow of Qi energy. When the body is healthy, Qi flows smoothly through pathways in your body. When the flow or balance of Qi is obstructed it can lead to diseases or illness.
Acupuncture is often used when Western medicine fails and is a safe alternative to medicine. The practice stimulates different acupuncture points in your body with needles in order to encourage natural healing and the flow of Qi energy. When it comes to our ears, there are 200 different acupuncture points. For this reason there is a specific type of acupuncture dedicated to the ear called auriculotherapy. In 1990 to keep things simple the World Health Organization created a list of 39 auricular points and 10 master points that are often used in acupuncture treatments. It is from this list that we have come to learn which points help with different functions of your mental health and bodies.
Ear Acupuncture Points
The acupuncture points on ones ears are often tied to the vagus nerve, which extends from your brain to the rest of your body. The practice crossed over to piercings when people started wanting longer lasting solutions to their problems. When it comes to piercings there are three different areas that can help with anxiety: the Shen Men which is a stress relieving point, point zero which is a claiming point, and the tranquilizer point that aids with relaxation.
The two most common piercings that one can get in relation to stress and anxiety are Daith piercings and Shen Men piercings. Of those the most popular piercings related to anxiety relief is the Daith.
The Daith piercing is located in the innermost fold of the ear and can help ease anxiety related migraine and other symptoms. The belief for this piercing and all other is that the piercing is assisting in unblocking the energy gateways in the body. The piercing will most likely not 100% cure you and it does not work for everybody. For it to be more likely to work it needs to be administered by a professional who knows about the different acupuncture points. Their knowledge in this area is vital for it to work as the Daith piercing has to hit the point zero pressure point to make a difference. Point zero is able to have an effect on anxiety as it regulates the brain, viscera, and hormones.
These piercings do take a long time to heal and should be avoided if you’re taking blood thinners, have diabetes, autoimmune conditions, or hemophilia. This is due to the fact that out of all the piercings the Daith is the most effective but also has the most side effects in the case where the piercing is done wrong. Even the name of the piercing emphasize the amount of precision needed when administering the piercing. The name originated in 1992 after Erik Dakota who gave the first Daith piercing to a jewish woman. The woman based Daith from a Hebrew word meaning "Tree of Knowledge" due to the knowledge needed to pierce this point.
Shen Men Piercing
This piercing is known as ‘the divine gate’. This point which is located as a specific point near the top-centre cartilage of the ear is known to calm anxiety, boost immunity, relieve migraines, centre the body, and reduce depression. It is the second most popular section to pierce, yet the most popular point in auriculotherapy.
This piercing is less popular than the Daith as a piercing as it does not work for everyone and has less success rates than the Daith. However, it is less risky, and has fewer side effects.
If you’re willing to try one of these piercings out this one is probably the one to go with. Even if it does not work, the side effects are slim to none and you’ll still be left with a distinct ear piercing.
Additional Piercing Points
Additional piercings that are not administered as often in relation to stress relief are rook piercings. This piercing is a cartilage piercing in the upper ear that is located above the tragus in the anti-helix. This piercing is mostly known to aide with migraines but it is said to have some effects on stress relief as well.
In addition to the Rook piercing, another point heavily associated with anxiety relief is the master cerebral point. This point is found between your earlobe and jaw line. It is not administered as often as the others as similar to the Daith, it is a very precise point that needs to be targeted.
When it comes to all of these piercings and their benefits there have been no clinical trials administered as proof. This is because Western doctors do not believe it works and attribute its effects to being placebo effects. There have, however, been studies conducted which have concluded that the stimulation of specific reflex points in the ear can help relieve symptoms. For this reason if you go to a salon or studio and ask for an anxiety or stress relieving piercing, the piercer will disclose that these methods have not been proven and are up to your discretion.
Regardless if they do work or not in the end, they still make for pretty cool piercings.