So what is Ear candling?
Ear candling is one of the oldest, most widespread practices around the world to remove excess earwax or cerumen. It goes by a a variety of different names, including ear coning and thermal-auricular therapy i.e. heated-ear therapy. Put simply, this practice involves lighting one end of a hollow candle and placing the other end in the ear canal.
Ear candling is a matter of personal choice and the reasons people choose to have this treatment are as varied as people themselves. In the West, controversy does surround how effective this practice is, however, alternative health practitioners think that Ear candling is a safe and effective way to maintain ear and overall health. These practitioners do not claim to cure these conditions but believe that Ear candling will help to bring balance and promote health.
Conditions treated by Ear candling include: a sense of fullness in the ear canal, ear-ache or the occasional difficulty in hearing – if such symptoms are caused by ear wax build-up.
Ear candling – the process
- Prior to introducing the tapered end of the candle into the ear canal, the ear must be washed to prevent infection.
- Then, the areas around and behind the ear i.e. behind the jawbone, around the temple and scalp are massaged for about 30 seconds, possibly longer, to stimulate circulation in this area and aid relaxation.
- The individual being treated usually lies on one side with the ear, to be candled, uppermost. An Ear candle is a conical cylinder of beeswax- or paraffin wax-coated cloth (usually cotton) that is between 22.5 – 30 cms long. The candles come in varying widths and one, that is the right diameter to fit the ear canal, is chosen. The candle stands vertical to the ear but passes through a paper plate or aluminium flat tin to protect the ear from any falling ash or dripping hot wax. However, the person may lie face-up with the candling protruding from the ear at a 30 – 45° angle.
- The candle burns for nearly 15 minutes to reach the appropriate length to maximise wax removal. It is trimmed every 5 cms into a bowl of water – again to catch falling hot wax and ash. The candle burns until it is between 4—10 cms from the ear before it is extinguished.
- When the candling process is complete, the ear's outer area and canal is cleaned gently.
- An Ear candling session may typically last up to one hour and one, possibly two candles may be used to treat one ear.
It is unclear how Ear candling works. One suggestion is that a thin layer of warm wax is depositied over the skin of the outer ear canal. This not only softens the ear wax that is already in the ear but it closes off pores, causing the body to produce oils that move the wax and foreign material out from the ear.