No idea where the technique originated, but it has nothing to do with a Native American indigenous tribe called Hopi.
Nevertheless, it is apparently a popular therapy, with many beauty salons/spas offering this alternative treatment.
Ear candling apparently has several positive benefits on a variety of conditions of the ear including: tinnitus, sinusitis, glue ear, hay fever & rhinitis, excessive ear wax, general hearing loss, colds, tension headaches, travel sickness and Menieres disease.
It does not claim to be a cure, and there is no scientific evidence to suggest the claims are true, but there have been reported claims that it has had a positive effect on the symptoms of the above.
So, after having had a tension headache for a week or so, on and off, last October, I thought I’d give it a go. At worst I’m down the cost of the treatment and still have a headache….
Aside from the fact the beautician kept me waiting for half an hour because she was waiting for a treatment room to become available that didn’t have a smoke alarm – all I could think was “Thank God I didn’t park in the NCP car park, my ticket would have run out and those traffic wardens are merciless, especially on a Friday!”
Eventually, I was taken into the treatment room and had to lie on my side. There was lovely calm music playing – although it would have been calmer had the volume been slightly lower – I did have a headache after all! I was covered in a towel and towels were placed around my ear.
The beautician explained that she would place the candle after it had been lit – she explained that I may be able to hear crackling, but some people found the experience very relaxing.
So, here goes. Lit candle in ear!
Now, most of you probably think I’m completely nuts, but I am quite into alternative treatments and am pretty much game to try anything once, have had my feet nibbled by fish, very into reflexology (nothing like a foot massage) and have tried Reiki.
Anyway, I digress, then the crackling started. It wasn’t too bad at first but then it got louder and louder, to the extent I thought I had a raging log fire going on in my ear. The theory is the burning candle produces a suction effect to draw out impurities from the ear. I must have had a load of impurities in mine then.
As the candle burns lower you do feel some heat on your head. I also actually experienced a pain in my head where my headache must have been, and weird or not, spooky, or just my imagination, that pain moved into my ear and went.
Candle removed, turn over and repeat on other side. The other side there was no pain, and less crackling.
After the treatment I was given an acupressure facial massage – just to release any remaining toxins from the facial area.
After I had sat up and drank a glass of water – you have to keep hydrated after this treatment – the beautician opened the candles.
All I can say is “YUK, YUK, YUK, WITH A CAPITAL YUK!”
Like everyone I clean my ears, or so I thought – but the amount of ear wax that was in the candle could have made its own candle. The first ear had the most which would account for the louder crackling sensation.
Generally, the rule of thumb if you do this is to go once a week for 3 weeks and then every couple of months, for maintenance.
Did it make any difference though, is what you’re all asking?
Well, headache went, and I think the problem was mainly sinusy. As I feel that the airways were much clearer than they were before, my hearing was slightly sharper, and I didn’t have to clean any ear wax out for a while afterwards!!
Obviously, each to his own, and all that, and medical practitioners query the benefits and a lot of people are of the opinion that this alternative therapy is nothing more than a placebo effect. If you think it’s good for you, you’ll probably think it’s done you good, even if it hasn’t.
Maybe so, maybe not.
For me, all I can say is my headache went, my airways felt clearer. And since October I have had several sessions – am in need of one imminently, I’ve had a headache for a week again!
Like everything there are contra-indications, so make sure if you go you are forewarned what they are, and always go somewhere reputable.
But yes, I’d recommend it, and yes, it was actually very relaxing 😉