What is Ear Candling?

by Head Health Nutter on September 1, 2009

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.ear candling

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.

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Emmanuel Lopez-Motivatorman September 2, 2009 at 11:58 am

I’ve had ear candling done many times and loved it. At first the procedure looks unusual and yet the benefits feel so great. There is an airier feeling in your head and ears. What is truly amazing is the ear-crap that comes out of you!

Emmanuel
Motivatorman

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Dee September 2, 2009 at 7:02 pm

I have heard comments like those from Emmanuel, as well as your experience Stephanie and since ear coning has become quite controversial, I have yet to try it myself!

However, if I could venture to suggest one other thing you might try to clear sinuses as well as pressure from the ears & nose since these cavities are all interconnected. This advice comes from several sources ~ the most recent being from Dr. Oz of Oprah fame, soon to have his own show beginning Sept 14th. In consultation with an ENT (Ear/Nose/Throad doctor)& alternative practitioners, he suggests trying a NETI POT used to pour salt water thru one nostril whilst tilting the head, so that it follows the canal thru-out the sinuses, then out the opposite nostril into a sink or container for disposal afterward. If one does this every day for a week, there are many benefits to be had from the cleansing, including relief from allergies & sinus headaches, even migraines and tinnitus!

Some people swear by this, but I haven’t tried this one personally either. So maybe you can give us a report on this next! Worth a try?

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Head Health Nut September 4, 2009 at 11:02 am

@Emmanuel I’m happy that you reported benefits from ear candling. Perhaps I would have felt more of them if I wasn’t so congested?

@Dee Thank you SO much for your helpful comment. I love Doc Oz (I’ve read “YOU: Staying Young”) and this is the first I’ve heard that he’s getting his own show. Good for him!

As for the NETI POT, I’m open to trying it, though it’ll be a challenge. I’ve never liked putting anything up my nose, whether it’s water or that awful liquid sinus decongestants that you squirt up your nostrils. I can imagine how queer it will feel with the water running through passages in my head! lol

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Lynda September 4, 2009 at 12:23 pm

I highly recommend the neti pot as well. I also don’t like the feeling of anything in my nose but I found using the neti pot wasn’t like that at all. I found that it really helped with my congestion, you do need to be more patient when congested because it takes a little more time for the water to be able to flush through the sinus’ but the end result is worth it!

I even got my 16 year old to try it when he was congested!

Hope you feel better soon!

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Head Health Nutter September 9, 2009 at 5:08 pm

Lynda, you’ve almost sold me on the neti pot. :)

Where can I find one?

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Lynda September 10, 2009 at 8:58 am

The neti pots can be found at any health food store….even Walmart sells them!

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Dee September 10, 2009 at 10:09 am

I’ve been getting lots of positive feedback on the neti pot Steph ~ so thought you & your readers might like to watch this excellent 2 min video on HOW it works.

My “expert” friends tell me that the water must be WARM and the breathing exercises afterwards make a big difference. I think the 5 minutes it takes to do this (naturally) even for a few days to get RELIEF, far outweighs the cost of medication (only
treating the symptoms) and not the real cause. Hope you’ll try it & let us know, either way!

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Dee September 10, 2009 at 10:10 am

Oops… here’s the LINK!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8sDIbRAXlg

Good Luck!!

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Head Health Nutter September 10, 2009 at 5:23 pm

Thanks for the info, Ladies! I’ll have to do more research…

My congestion is DEEP within my cavities. My ears are blocked! From the YouTube video, I don’t see how the neti pot will do a deep cleaning or unblock the ears.

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Christy May 29, 2010 at 10:29 pm

Head Health Nut, I have the same exact problem as you do. The netti pot didn’t work because I have a sinus infection that won’t go away. The dr’s are doing sinus surgery in June to remove all the mucus. Have you seen an allergy doctor for this? Also, I do believe the sinus problems, for me, is from Candida Yeast Overgrowth!!

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Head Health Nutter June 1, 2010 at 6:36 pm

Thanks for sharing your experience, Christy. Wow, sinus surgery – you’ll have to let us know how that goes – good luck! I haven’t seen an allergy doctor for this, it seems to have gone now but I have a feeling it’s because I was eating a lot of congesting foods, and perhaps not exercising enough to get the lymphatic system moving…

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dave paul October 4, 2009 at 8:32 am

the gunk you see after ear candling is only an accumulation of melted bees wax from the candle not ear wax

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Head Health Nutter October 6, 2009 at 3:06 pm

@Dave Paul: thanks for suggesting that it’s candle wax rather than from your ear.

If I ever get it done again, I’ll touch it and see what it feels like! There should be a difference, right? If it’s sticky, it’ll be ear wax and if smooth, candle wax.

I want another ear candling just to find out! :)

Steph

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Samuel January 15, 2010 at 3:45 pm

I really enjoy the process of ear coning or ear candling. It is very relaxing and soothing. I really just wish people could understand the true facts about it. Most of the info people get is all common miss conception and untrue facts. I have done a fair amount of research and found a couple of great places that provide excellent information.

http://www.earcandleblog.com

http://www.wallysnatural.com/ear-candling-faq

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Head Health Nutter January 16, 2010 at 5:08 pm

Thanks for sharing the links with us, Samuel!

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Samuel February 1, 2010 at 12:52 pm

No matter what your take is on ear candling, you have to check out this video. A parody on jessica simspon’s ear candling video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjCLoaqxIOU

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Head Health Nutter February 4, 2010 at 10:42 pm

hee hee! Samuel! LOL

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Cheron Long-Landes March 27, 2010 at 3:42 pm

I have had ear candling done many times and believe it has plenty of benefits. I feel lighter, more balanced and somehow free. I ususally like to have it done after a flight, or a bad cold. It would seem the Govt. has put a stop to it, as I cannot find anywhere in recent times that will do it for me. The stop is apparantly temporary. Let’s hope so, I love having it done!

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Head Health Nutter March 27, 2010 at 5:32 pm

Thanks for sharing your experience with us, Cheron! It seems like many people love ear candling. :)

I recently came across some info from a reputable Toronto Naturopathic doctor about ear candling which may shed some light on why it’s a rare therapy these days.

Stay tuned for an upcoming post where I’ll share the info!

Steph @ Live Lighter.org

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Nate - creating candles July 7, 2010 at 8:07 pm

This therapy is still controversial until now.

“Material that appears after ear candling, sometimes alleged to be earwax and toxins, was found to be residue from the candle itself.”

I hope to stay tune for more updates about this budding therapy.

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