Ear candling is a technique that involves placing a lit, hollow, cone-shaped candle into your ear canal, with the theory being that the heat from the flame will create suction that draws the earwax into the hollow candle.
A person undergoing this procedure lies on his or her side, and a paper plate or other collection device is placed just above the ear. A candle is then inserted through a hole in the plate into the ear canal. It is then lit and trimmed as it burns down. Once the candle burns down, it’s removed from the ear and a cotton swab is used to clean any visible wax from the ear. Oil is sometimes also applied as a finishing touch.
Ear candling has been promoted as a treatment for sinus infections, hearing loss, inner ear pain, tinnitus, and other issues. Candling practitioners maintain that it removes wax and other impurities, providing proof of success by putting the still-warm candle into a bowl of water and claiming everything that floats free is ear wax, dead skin, toxins and other debris. Some even claim that part of the debris is Candida. Others go even beyond this, asserting that ear candling actually helps to “clear” the eyes, fortify the central nervous system, release blocked energy and stabilize emotions.
Studies, however, reveal a different story. Researchers have found that not only is ear candling ineffective at removing earwax and offers no benefits, it can cause serious injury. Renowned osteopathic physician and strong proponent of alternative medicine, Dr. Joseph Mercola, says that his research has also confirmed that candling has no real benefits but has the potential to be quite dangerous – and, that there are a significant number of reports of burn injuries caused by the procedure.
Research has also revealed that this technique may actually push earwax deeper into the ear canal and can lead to puncture of the eardrum, deposits of candle wax in the ear canal, and burns to the face, hair, scalp, ear canal, eardrum and/or middle ear.
In addition to the serious risks involved, many people who perform the procedure for profit have no medical background, and do not use otoscopes in order to avoid the legalities of practicing medicine without a license.
Dr. Mercola notes that even if candling could remove ear wax, he wouldn’t recommend it, as ear wax serves as a coating which protects the inner ear against water and dust, as well as helping to battle bacteria.
It was designed by nature as an important cleaning mechanism, and for most people, the wax moves as it should, through the ear canal and eventually to the outside of the ear. Only once the earwax has reached this opening should it be removed, he advises. Going too deep with cotton swabs or other elements can push the wax in deeper, or even injure the ear drum.
If you truly have a buildup of earwax that is interfering with your hearing, most healthcare experts advise visiting your physician, who can flush it out with water directed into the ear using a specially designed syringe.
-The Alternative Daily