DIY Healthcare: Ear Candles
When my son was a baby, we were lucky that he didn't get any ear infections, which some babies just seem to be plagued with. However, when he was about four years old, he started having problems. His ears were producing excessive ear wax and he began getting ear infections and experiencing diminished hearing. I took him to a few different doctors, and a big concern was that the wax in the depths of his ears would harden and cause damage to the ear drums. We used a series of irrigation systems and doctor prescribed ear drops, but nothing was working. Surgery was mentioned as the next best possibility.
Then I heard about ear candles. Possibly dating back to the ancient Egyptians, ceramic ear candles were first used for spiritual and mental cleansing, and were later used by the Hopi tribe in North America. I found an updated version; an unbleached piece of fabric dipped in beeswax and then wrapped into a hollow dinner candle length cone. I picked some up at a nearby health store for two bucks each. It seems that ear candles are becoming increasingly popular, so it shouldn't be hard to find a natural foods store that carries them. By typing in "ear candles" to an internet search engine, you can also find mailorder companies that sell them.
I brought the candles home, unsure that my son would be down with the idea of having a flaming something sticking out of his ear. So I demonstrated on my boyfriend and my son thought that it looked cool enough to try.
The first time we tried the candles, I used two on each of my son's ears because of the excessive ear wax. I haven't read anything pertaining to the dangers of using these frequently, but I would recommend waiting at least a month between sessions if you produce normal amounts of wax in your ears. Ear wax is generally a good thing for the average person.
About one month after trying the candles, my son had to go to the clinic for a completely unrelated ailment. The doctor in the office that day was one we had never seen before, so after his initial examination I asked him how my son's ears looked. He said they were fine. I pressed him, asking if he thought there might be a little bit too much wax in there, and then after he said he saw nothing unusual I told him about the problems we had in the past. He looked in my son's ears again and said they looked very much okay to him.
I was thrilled and amazed that we were able to treat him at home, thereby possibly avoiding a scary, costly, and likely unnecessary surgery. The whole experience just completely opened my eyes to the arrogance and greed of the common medical practitioner, though. We had spent hundreds of dollars on doctor's visits and special ear drops, and potentially thousands more on surgery, while my son suffered through pain and anxiety, because a thousands year old remedy seemed too silly or not profitable enough to be pursued.
Since we started using ear candles, my son hasn't had a single ear infection. There has been a few times that he has complained of discomfort, so we used the candles and within a few hours he was feeling better.
I've done some reading up on ear candles--as much as I can because there isn't much information about them out there. I've read several pieces by medical professionals who say that ear candles don't work at all, and that the residue found inside a candle used in a person's ear after candling is just spent wax from the candle itself. However, I have done some dynamic testing by burning a candle in my son's ear and one in a small, empty bottle, and while both spent candles did contain residue after I unwrapped them, the one used on my son contained more material, and it was a completely different color and texture-like that of dark ear wax with darker specks in it rather than the very pale yellow powdery residue found in the candle that I burned in the bottle. Now I am no scientist, but the results of this little test and the fact that my son hasn't had an ear infection or any other serious ear related problems since we began candling is pretty good proof to me.
How to Use Ear Candles:
This is truly a two person operation. Have the person in need of candling lay on their side with a pillow supporting their neck and head in a comfortable position.
- Be sure to have a fire proof bowl or ashtray handy to put the candle out in when you are done. If the person you are candling has long hair, have them tie it back first.
- Place the wide end of the candle in the person's ear by gently applying pressure and twisting. You want the candle in just deep enough so that there are no gaps between the opening of the ear and the candle.
- Light the protruding end of the candle while firmly holding the base of the candle (near the person's ear).
- The candle works by creating a suction that draws the wax up into the candle. In order to ensure a tight seal to create enough suction, you may need to gently pinch the person's earlobe with one hand, always firmly holding the burning candle with your other hand.
- The person with the candle in their ear will likely feel very little warmth, if any at all. They will probably hear some crackling sounds, which is normal.
- Allow the candle to burn until the flame is about three to four inches from the base of the candle. When it has reached this point, remove it from the ear and snuff it out.