Have you ever felt chilled or so cold that you’re shivering and shaking?
If you are home and are too cold, you can pile on the blankets and drink some hot tea to help you warm up. But what else can you do to help your body temperature get back in gear?
Have you ever been in a situation where extra blankets, a hot water bottle and hot tea or soup didn’t work so well or you didn’t have access to more blankets and hot drinks?
And what about during the summer or after vigorous exercise, have you ever found it hard to cool off? Or had a fever spiking and you were burning up? To cool off you can take a cold bath or shower, drink a cold beverage, soak your feet in ice. But what else can you do?
What happens if you don’t have cold drinks or ice to bring your body temperature down?
What Are Ear Strokes*?
Ear Strokes can help the regulation of body temperature up or down.
If you have chills and are too cold and use Ear Strokes, then the ability for your body to regulate your body temperature up into a more normal range kicks in. If you are too hot and use Ear Strokes, then body temperature regulates down into a more normal range.
Recently when visiting my parents, my dad got sick, had an infection and was taking some medication. He began shaking, shivering and his teeth were chattering. My dad was lying in bed with an electric blanket on, the heat was turned up. this didn’t make a difference.
I asked if I could use Ear Strokes. I told my parents that it can help body temperature regulate and often you can warm up when using them. My dad shakily nodded yes. I noted right away that his ears felt cool though not cold. At least that was a good sign that his ears were not ice cold!
Ear Stroke Steps: Here is What I Did
I used four strokes in four different locations along the ear. Starting at the bottom of the lobe, then a quarter of the way up the ear, then in the upper quarter of the ear, and then the tip-top of the ear.
I began stroking the bottom of the left ear lobe between my fore finger and thumb, stroking from the inside of the lobe outward towards the edge. I stroked in a northeast direction or towards 2 or 3 o’clock.
The amount of pressure I used was as if I were stroking a rose petal. Too hard and I would tear the petal and hurt my dad’s ear, too soft and I’d hardly be able to feel the petal and would tickle his ear and tickling just plain feels annoying! I needed enough pressure for him to feel it and be useful.
Following this same sequence from the bottom of the lobe all the way to the top, I stroked using this sequence of covering the four quarters about 4-5 times on one ear and then moved to the other ear, and then went back to the other ear. I kept alternating back and forth between ears.
Usually I find that after just a few minutes of using these Ear Strokes someone’s body temperature usually kicks back into a more comfortable range. But that was not happening with my dad. Even though I could visibly see him shaking, I asked him how he was feeling. He said it’d begin to slow down and he’d start to feel better, but then he’d begin shaking and shivering again.
I was getting concerned and thought it might be a reaction to the medication. I noted that the phone was nearby and thought to myself that if his temperature didn’t start rising very soon we would need to seek medical attention.
I continued to use the Ear Strokes on each ear about four or five times using the sequence of stoking the bottom of the ear from the inside towards the outside of the lobe, going up a bit and doing the same stroke, then continuing up to the upper quarter of the ear, and then the top.
I also kept in mind that the top of the ear is a point for shock and that by stroking the top of the ear each time, I might be helping to prevent him from going into shock. He also got very relaxed and began dosing off when he stopped shaking. Ear Slides feel great and are very relaxing!
Signs to Look For
After using the Strokes for about 10 – 15 minutes his ears began to warm up and his face and ears both had better color to them. These are usually signs that someone will begin to feel warmer soon. I was relieved to start seeing these signs! I took a break when my mom came in to check on him. After about 30 minutes, he said he didn’t have any more chills and was feeling warmer.
Then, later that night he began spiking a fever. He began to alternately have chills and he was feeling hot. His temperature went up to 101.5 even though earlier in the day it was 99.1 after the ear slides.
I asked him again if I could do some Ear Strokes. He gave me a blank look – I think because I had used them to warm him up before! So I explained that these slides worked both if your temperature is too low or too high, they help the body regulate into a more normal range. Once again he nodded yes. This time, his ears were quite warm to touch. After only about 5 minutes of using the strokes his body temperature began to even out. The chills stopped and his fever came down, his face and ears had better color again and his ears cooled off to a more normal temperature.
I stepped out to do a few things in the other room. My mom hadn’t realized that I had been doing the Strokes and came and told me his fever was down. I could tell she was relieved. I told her I had done more strokes and explained to her that it helped to bring body temperature into a normal range whether it was high or low. She was pleased and we all felt relieved! His body temperature stayed within a pretty good range not getting too hot or too cold all night too.
Later after everyone was settled, my brother and mother asked me to show them how to do the ear strokes. I coached my mom through the sequence, amount of pressure, frequency, and signs to look for. They both commented that they could visibly see how my dad’s shaking would quiet every time I used the strokes. We all talked about how amazing it was that these seemingly simple strokes along your ears could warm you up so dramatically from shivering and shaking and cool you down when too hot!
Other Uses for Ear Strokes
Ear strokes have gotten myself, my family, friends and many animals out of some pretty dicey conditions over the years. Sometimes while waiting for the vet or rescue squad, sometimes averting bad bellyaches, hypothermia, freezing temperatures, overheating, and shock. Those ear strokes have been our saving grace.
Whether you are too cold or too hot, using the Ear Strokes is a great first aid tool you can carry around with you anywhere you go and use anytime.
I have used it on a tubing trip down a river when the weather turned cold and a friend began shivering and her lips began to turn a distinct and scary shade of blue. We had no cell phones, no food, no extra clothes, no rescue squad nearby and no other way to warm up. With at least another hour or so to get to our car down river, Ear Strokes were the saving grace.
I showed my friend how to do the strokes and they brought her back from shivering cold with blue lips to a comfortable body temperature while her lips turned pink again. Wow! She’d warm up and stop using the strokes. After another 10 minutes or so floating downriver, still no sun, food, or any other way to warm up, her teeth would start chattering and shortly after her lips began turning shades of blue. So she’d start another round of strokes along her ears and warm up again.
Now I use these ear strokes all the time if I am outside and get too cold or hot, anytime of the year. For instance after riding horses or dancing in the Virginia heat with high humidity in the summers they help me cool off. They have also become a regular part of our routine with my horses and dogs to help them cool off. Through the winter, I always check my elder horse’s ears. When they feel cool or cold I spend an extra 5-10 minutes and use ear strokes until he warms up. He LOVES his ear strokes!
Once when I was out of town, my then 27 yr. old horse began to show signs of colic. My house sitter called me and I walked her through doing Ear Strokes over the phone. He perked back up after about 20 minutes. His pulse and respiration returned to normal and all seemed fine.
It turned out that this was a prelude to some sluggishness in his digestive system and we began a series of acupuncture with him in addition to his ear strokes, some food adjustments and other bodywork as his regular senior maintenance.
Two days later my dad had significant chills again followed by a fever a few hours later. This time, it took almost an hour for his body temperature to begin to normalize. Not a good sign.
The ear strokes were incredibly helpful to make him more comfortable. But, whenever in doubt and if symptoms persist or worsen, this is the time to seek medical attention. In this case, the symptoms were a prelude to some other medical conditions that were beginning to show up. And he did need and get medical assistance. He is now on the mend and while I was there, continued to ask for ear strokes. And he has been doing them for himself as well!
I think everyone should know how to do Ear Strokes as they are an amazingly helpful first aid tool. You never know when they can come in handy for regulating body temperature, to help prevent shock, and for a soothing relaxing treat. I sure was glad that I knew how to do them with my dad!
* Ear Strokes were developed by Linda Tellington-Jones. http://www.TTouch.com