Have you ever blown your nose and experienced crackling and popping in your ears, followed by the glorious sounds of the outside world coming in crystal clear? If you hadn’t noticed before, this is when you realize that your ears are plugged.
If you’re lucky, your Dolby digital-like surround sound hearing stays. If you’re like me and really congested, the crackling happens again almost instantaneously and it’s like you pushed the mute button on your ear drums.
So after two weeks of this and wanting to try an alternative method to the walk-in clinic’s ear flushing with warm, salt water, I decided to try ear candling (a.k.a. ear coning). But what is ear candling?
Ear candling is a highly debatable alternative therapy where ear candles are used to draw wax and impurities from the ear, sinuses, and some even believe, from the brain itself.
Proponents for ear candling suggest that it has many health benefits, including hearing improvement, curing earaches and swimmer’s ear, purifying the mind, stabilizing emotions and reducing stress and tension. Check out this QuackWatch.com article for a list on more purported health benefits.
However, research and respectable sources (like Health Canada in this article) say that ear candling fails to provide any health benefits and is dangerous in that it poses a risk of fire, burns, blocked ears (with the candle wax) and punctured ear drums.
Despite these warnings and feeling the need to experiment, I booked an appointment with my trusted neighbourhood health spa. The procedure went well and was actually quite relaxing. While she held the burning candle to an exposed ear, my ear candler massaged that side of my neck, shoulder and head.
After the candle had burnt close to the bottom, she removed it from my ear, cut off the still burning piece and cut it again closer to the end where it was placed in my ear. In each candle, I saw about an half an inch of what was obviously ear wax!
She then finished the treatment with a full face, head, neck and shoulder massage. It was heaven.
Unfortunately, my ears are still blocked and crackle when I blow my nose. I feel the only health benefits I recieved for my $40 was stress and tension relief… from the massage, of course!
Have you any experience with ear candling or coning? Please share it with us in the comment section below.