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An Alternative Approach To Relief: Planting 'Ear Seeds'

(CBS) -- Tiny beads called ear seeds are how some people are fighting stress and pain.

They are placed on the ears by licensed acupuncturists, and fans say they're an easy and drug-free treatment.

CBS 2's Marissa Bailey reports.

Any woman can relate to Julia Hampton.

"I've been experiencing some stress and anxiety," she says.

And no wonder.

"I'm a full time working mom with two kids, married, and it's all very demanding," she says.

She was at Healing Foundations in Chicago to relieve her symptoms of stress, including anxiety, jaw and neck discomfort.

Licensed acupuncturist Lisa Alvarez tapes tiny pellets called seeds in Julia's ears. They apply gentle pressure on acupuncture points that correspond to areas of the body.

She says ear seeds can help with a host of problems, ranging from back pain to asthma to allergies.

"It really helps people reduce their intake of medication," Alvarez says.

She says more physicians are recognizing that alternative therapies like ear seeds can be helpful.

Internist Eric Applebaum says he prefers if patients talk to their doctors first before trying it but says he's "all for people going down that road" as an alternative.

This was Julia's second treatment.  Lisa Alvarez caps it off with a tiny gold tack inserted in the ear to help her stay calm.

"It's instantly calming," she says.

Typically, patients keep the seeds in for four to five days.

Treatments are around $30.  Some people go in on a regular basis; others are helped by just going in now and then.

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