Do you know where your daith is? If you had to make an educated guess, would you say it was north or south of your belly button?
Your daith (pronounced ‘doth’, like ‘moth’), is a piercing spot on your ear’s innermost cartilage fold. ‘A year ago I was piercing less than one daith every couple of months,’ reports Nicole Mitchell, head piercer from Notting Hill’s Love Hate Social Club. ‘Now I’m doing upwards of 10 each month,’ she says.
It’s also one of a growing number of unusual spots Londoners are getting pierced — from the conch (the inside shell of the ear) to the helix (the upper, outside edge of the ear) to the tragus (the small piece of cartilage by your ear hole). Thanks to the catwalk (those Dior ear cuffs), stud-loving Instagrammers such as @beaniemajorand transatlantic piercing royalty such as the LA-based Maria Tash, who regularly holds pop-ups in department store Liberty, piercings have never been so fashionable.
But according to Mitchell that’s not the only reason puncturing our ears and decorating them with jewels is trending: ‘Lots of my clients come in having read that piercings can cure migranes.’
Sceptical? Acupuncturists have long studied the healing potential of piercings— particularly their ability to relieve migraines and help stave off allergies. Indeed, according to the book Mysteries of The Ear, published by Assouline and written by the neuropharmacologist Dr Nadia Volf, the ancient Egyptians, Romans and Persians practised auricular acupuncture to aid everything from digestion to eyesight and menstrual problems, while the reason pirates wore a ring in one earlobe is that, according to folkloric tradition, the piercing enhanced their vision.
‘There are more than 200 acupoints in the ear,’ says Harley Street acupuncturist Jani White, who explains that they can be used to resolve ailments elsewhere in the body in a similar way to reflexology. ‘These points are like entrances into the London Underground. The entrances are at street level and they go down into the system and allow you to get to where you need to go.’
But does it actually work? ‘Piercers are not trained acupuncturists, and for the most part, we are not aware of the ear’s meridians,’ argues Maria Tash, who will hold her next Liberty pop-up next month. There’s also a difference between most piercings and acupuncture needles — piercings stay in the ear permanently, while acupuncture needles are removed after minutes or even seconds.
Which is not to say that daith devotees and other piercing pioneers should give up hope on auriculotherapy: ‘There’s also the belief factor,’ says White. ‘There’s indisputable evidence in the role belief plays in how our bodies behave. If someone truly believes that a piercing will stop their headaches — it might do just that.’
Either way, so long as it’s done safely, a little extra bling in your ear this season isn’t going to do any harm. And if it makes you feel good too, so much the better.