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Ear Candling: Ancient Technique Makes A Come Back

by Dr. Idelle S. Brand, DDS


Ear candling, also called auricular candling or coning, is an ancient holistic healing modality. The genesis of ear candling is not well established but it is believed that it may have originated from ancient Tibet, China, Egypt and the pre-Columbian Americas. It is said to have originated around 3,000 years ago. In those times, the treatment was reportedly reserved for great warriors, spiritual leaders, and others of high social class.

In our culture, ear candling can be traced back to the Hopi tribe of Native Americans. The Hopi have used this therapy for both health and spiritual purposes for centuries. They brought this knowledge to Europe in pre-colonial times.

The practice of ear candling, regardless of origin, was virtually lost for many years as modern medicine introduced the use of antibiotics for ear and sinus infections. Ear candling now continues to make a comeback, thanks in large part to the large resurgence of alternative medical practices in modern society.

The benefits are many, as it is believed to draw out toxins trapped in the ear canals and sinus passages. It is a simple procedure that involves placing a hollow candle, usually made from cloth and paraffin wax, into the ear opening and burning the other end. This will create a gentle vacuum along with a certain amount of beneficial smoke and heat. As the candle burns down, a therapist trained in the art of ear candling supervises the procedure to ensure the safety of the client.

Back in the mists of time, before we had hospitals and medical insurance, people had to rely on more homespun types of medicine for health care. As a result, many forms of "folk medicine" evolved over the centuries, including such modalities as herbalism, acupuncture, homeopathy and ear candling. The fact that these forms of medicine have withstood the test of time says something about their efficacy and their validity.

Ear candling is used to relieve congestion from the ear, nose and sinus areas of the head. Some symptoms that can be relieved, include:

· Colds and Influenza

· Sinusitis or Sinus Infection

· Waxy Ears

· Tinnitus

· Vertigo

· TMJ Pain

· Pain During Airplane Flights

What To Expect At A Treatment

Lying on your side, the therapist seats the narrow end of the cone just at the outer edge of the ear canal. She lights the far end – having taken the correct precautions to protect the hair, face, etc. and then the ear candle slowly burns down – it takes about 10-15 minutes.

As the cone burns down it creates warmth in the ear and also causes a draft– a bit like a chimney – that can gently lift debris out of the ear. It can also soften earwax so that the body can gently remove it in its natural way. Pressure in the sinuses can be eased bringing pain relief.

During the treatment you may feel warmth in the ear. You will probably hear a crackling noise, which gets louder as the burning area comes closer to the ear. However the wax cone is removed when it is about 3 inches away from the body, so there is no danger of burning.

Some people make the mistake of doing ear candling on themselves. This can be extremely dangerous as you are dealing with a live flame that cannot be self-monitored. It is best to go to a trained professional who will give a safe treatment.

There are some contraindications for this procedure. If you currently have a perforated eardrum, an active ear infection, recent ear surgery, ear cysts or tubes, then you should avoid ear coning. If you aren’t sure about it, always consult your physician first. It is wise to do that before you go for a session.

Dr Idelle S. Brand practices Enlightened DentistryTM, an integrative approach to holistic dental care. For more information, please see her websites www.enlighteneddentistry.net  or integrative healing.webs.com. She can also be contacted at 212 947-0073 in her Manhattan office.


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