Posted By Clod on May 17, 2010
Ear candling may sound like a funky, New Age meditation technique, yet it is actually a relaxing and beneficial treatment that can be found on the menu at various health spas and beauty treatment facilities. Find out what this technique can do for you and how to do it from your own home.
When I first heard about ear candling, I pictured someone lighting a candle and dripping the wax into my ear! I thought, no way! After talking to an ear candling professional, however, I learned a little more about the technique and the benefits, and I decided to give it a try.
What Is Ear Candling?
Ear candling is a relaxing, very comfortable way to remove excess earwax, bacteria, fungus and yeast from your ear. It’s a wonderful alternative to having that burst of water flooding your ear, a procedure most of us knew and dreaded when children, whether at the hands of good ol’ Doctor Mom or at the doctor’s office. Candling is less expensive, definitely less invasive and works better at removing the heavy impacted wax than the traditional method of forcing water into the ear canal. Ear candling also detoxifies the sinus, lymphatic and other systems by realigning the flow of cranial fluids. It’s even thought to remove remnants of past infections. One medical journal reported that the types of bacteria we fight in our ears include streptococcus pneumonia, staphylococcus aureus, anaerobic bacteria and influenza A and B.
The ear is full of intricate crevices, so debris can really stack up! The accumulation can create a breeding ground for problems as well as interfere with hearing. A lifetime of accumulated wax can block incoming sound waves, pile up against the ear ducts and may explain some of the hearing problems we develop as we get older. Reports show that 20 percent of adults between 65 and 74 have hearing problems .
Candling can be done on people of any age. Children, even babies, can benefit. Inner ear infection is one of the top reasons children are admitted to hospitals. Ear candling has been used to treat chronic ear infections and to avoid ear tube placement.
How Does Ear Candling Work?
The ear “candle” is actually a fabric cone covered with wax, perhaps eight to 10 inches long, with one end tapering to a small open point and the other end a wider opening. You, the “candle-ee,” lie on your side and the smaller end of the cone is inserted into the mouth of the ear canal. This creates a seal. The wider end of the cone is lit, and the vapors of smoke travel into the ear canal, warming the pores and softening the earwax. It is important that the candle block the entire auditory canal so air cannot get by. It must create a “seal.” Incorrect placement is indicated when wisps of smoke leak around the ends of the candle. It’s not necessary to push too hard to attain this seal, so be careful not to use too much force. The shape of the ear and the cone should create a natural seal with a few minor adjustments, not force.
The flame of the candle creates a vacuum or “draw,” which pulls the wax, candida, yeast and debris out of the ear and up into the bottom of the cone. The vacuum is caused by the mixture of warm air from the flame and the colder air moving through the hollow chamber of the cone. The movement and compression between the ear canal and the cone generate airflow with increasing velocity, literally sucking all the bad stuff out.
As the earwax and other debris are drawn from the ear into the cone, the air flow can become disrupted, so some recommend removing the candle and tapping out the contents periodically through the process. The cone may be inserted through an aluminum pie plate (or paper plate covered with aluminum foil) to protect the face and hair. As the top of the cone burns down, it must be snipped off safely to avoid burning the candle-ee. Usually a bowl of water is kept handy, and the candler brings the bowl close to the cone. The material that is snipped off the burning cone falls into the bowl. Mark the cone before starting four inches from the small end and don’t burn below this line.
From one to three candles are typically used for each ear. The number can vary depending on the age of the candle-ee, the type of problem he or she is experiencing, and the frequency of candling. Candling usually takes from 15 to 20 minutes per candle, so provide a comfortable place for the candle-ee to recline. The vacuum sound is much like the gentle hum one hears when a seashell is placed against the ear. Some candlers also massage the area surrounding the ear as the treatment progresses, which is very pleasant and relaxing.
Some of the benefits reported are: better hearing, absence of noises in the ears, better lymphatic circulation and pressure regulation, less irritation of sinus and relief of vertigo.
After candling, gently rinsing the ears and placing a couple drops of herbal garlic oil into the ear is recommended (see recipe below). The normal wax will be replaced within 24 hours, so during this period, protect the ears from wind, cold and excessive water.
A Bit of History
The ear candling technique is centuries old, dating back to 2500 B.C., though the holistic community has rediscovered it in the past decade. It was thought to have originated with the Egyptians, used for spiritual as well as physical cleansing. Besides cleaning all the accumulated junk from the ear, it was believed that the spirit centers and auras would be opened and cleared from candling as well.
Parchment scrolls discovered in the Orient also describe the ear candling procedure. This ancient therapy may have been developed with the domestication of the honeybee, as beeswax was used to coat cylinders made primarily of linen from flax. Originally, the Egyptians used hollow reeds. Today, ear candles resemble a large straw. Although there are commercial differences, they are usually made of 100 percent unbleached cotton fabric coated with purified paraffins and/or beeswax. Some contain herbs and oils.
A Couple of Success Stories
My 81-year-old aunt was complaining about not being able to hear her radio next to the bed when she settled down to sleep at night. She was going to make an appointment at the doctor’s to get fitted for a hearing aid. I offered to candle her ears, and she agreed to give it a try. I don’t want to be “gross” about what came out into the cone, but let it suffice to say that my aunt called me the next day and told me she was able to hear perfectly again. She thought it was a miracle!
A mother called me to see if I could candle her five-year-old daughter’s ears. She and her husband had divorced and shared custody. The father lived in the mountains, and the mother “down the hill.” The little girl was experiencing chronic ear infections and was unable to “clear” her ears from all the traveling to and from. It was a little tricky candling such tiny ears, but the candling did help with her ear pain.
Ear Oil Recipe
(From “Herbal Teas: 101 Nourishing Blends for Daily Health & Vitality,” by Kathleen Brown, published by Storey Books, Pownal, VT)
This is an antiseptic herbal oil. It doesn’t have a long shelf life, so discard after one week. To use, gently warm one teaspoon at a time. Saturate half of a cotton ball with warm oil and place in the ear canal. Use the other half of the cotton ball to hold the oil-drenched part in place.
? cup olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, freshly crushed
? teaspoon pure tea tree essential oil
? teaspoon pure lavender essential oil
Put the olive oil in a small clean jar and then put the jar in a small saucepan filled with a few inches of water. Gently warm the oil. Turn off the heat, add the crushed garlic, stir and cover the jar. Let it steep one to two hours. Strain out the garlic and add the essential oils.
DISCLAIMER: Ear candles are a home remedy and should not take the place of medical treatment. They make no medical claims and are not a medical device.