(BeWellBuzz) Ear candling is an alternative medical treatment for removing ear wax. It is also known by other names such as thermal-auricular therapy and ear coning.
In this alternative medical practice, ear candles are used for removing ear wax. They are generally made of linen or cotton that has been molded in the shape of a cone, dipped in unprocessed beeswax or some other type of wax, and then left to dry to gain hardness.
Types of wax used in ear candles
The following types of wax are generally used in ear candles: unprocessed beeswax, food grade wax, or paraffin wax. It is a generally accepted belief that unprocessed beeswax and food grade wax ear candles are better than paraffin ear candles.
How ear candling works
There are two popular theories about how ear candle works. According to the first theory, when an ear candle is burnt, it creates a low-pressure vacuum, which in turn draws out the ear wax. The second theory states that our body’s natural excretion process is stimulated by the smoke emitted by the ear candle, and this leads to removal of ear wax, pollen, dead cells, and other debris. Both these theories, it needs to be noted, have not been proven.
How to use ear candles
When used properly, ear candles offer an easy, painless way of removing ear wax. It is recommended that you do ear candling with a partner.
For ear candling, you need a plate for collecting wax. A hole is made in the specially-designed plate and ear candle is passed through it and placed into the subject’s outer ear canal. The opposite end of ear candle is lit using a lighter or matchstick. An ear candles takes about 15 minutes to burn. The flame is extinguished when it is 5-10 centimeters away from the subject.
The other things, in addition to ear candles and a paper plate, that you may require during an ear candling session include:
- Ear candling oil
- Bowel of water
- Magic marker
- Lighter or matches
You can do ear candling in either of the two positions:
- Lying sideways. Ensure that the treated ear is facing upwards. The candle is placed vertically – at almost 90° – on the outer ear canal of the treated ear.
- Lie on your back. Place an ear candle on the external ear canal of the treated ear at an almost 45° upward slant.
To use ear candles, perform the following steps:
- Cut a hole in the paper plate. The hole should be big enough to let the smaller end of the ear candle pass through
- Slide the smaller end of ear candle through the paper plate. Keep the paper plate at about 5 inches above the lower end.
- Mark a 6-inch point on the ear candle from its lower end using a marker.
- Light the larger end using a lighter or matchstick. Place the smaller end on the external ear canal of the subject.
- Hold the burning ear candle firmly. It is necessary that the administrator hold the ear candle throughout the session.
- Remove the ear candle when only 6 inches of it is left.
- Extinguish the flame. For this purpose, you may use a bowel of water. After removing the ear candle from the recipient’s ear, place it in the bowel of water next to you to extinguish the flame.
How long does an ear candling session duration last?
The duration of an ear candling session depends solely on the number of candles you use. One ear candle usually takes 15 minutes to burn. So, if you use two ear candles per ear – 4 in total – the duration of the session will be approximately 60 minutes (4 x 15 minutes). In case you use only one ear candle per ear – 2 in total – the duration will be approximately 30 minutes (2 x15).
The efficacy of ear candles in removing ear wax from the inner ear has not been adequately studied. That said, an independent study in the journal Laryngoscope stated that ear candles do not remove ear wax. Some experts, however, also agree that the subject group of this study was too small—only eight individuals were studied— to consider this result as the final statement on the efficacy of ear candles.
Proponents of ear candling claim that it is an effective, painless way of clearing ear wax.
Other purported benefits of this non-invasive treatment are:
- It improves hearing
- It reduces the pain associated with ear infections and other ear conditions such as swimmer’s ear
- It relieves tinnitus
- It relieves/reduces sinusitis