What Are the Benefits of Ear Candling?

B. Miller

Ear candling is a process in which a hollowed out candle is inserted into the ear canal; the wick, which faces away from the ear, is then lit. It may also be referred to as ear coning and thermal-auricular therapy. Theoretically, the heat generated by the candle helps to soften ear wax, which is then drawn from the ear into the cavity in the center of the candle. Proponents believe that the benefits of ear candling are numerous; they state that it may be able to relieve clogged ears and sinus pressure, clean the ears, and improve the ability to hear. Numerous doctors state that this is not the case, however, and that the potential benefits of ear candling are fabricated.

Ear candling may be used to remove ear wax.
Ear candling may be used to remove ear wax.

The theory behind the benefits of ear candling is relatively simple. Practitioners believe that the heat from the candle helps to soften and loosen the ear wax that may be clogging the ears, and that it helps to create a vacuum effect that then pulls the wax into the hollow center of the candle. For people who suffer from clogged ears, and find that they experience tinnitus or difficulty hearing because of this, it seems to be a simple solution to relieve this annoying pressure.

Some believe ear candling improves overall health by balancing the lymphatic system.
Some believe ear candling improves overall health by balancing the lymphatic system.

Other people cite that simple cleansing of the ears as one of the benefits of ear candling. Many people suffering from persistent sinus pain or pressure will attempt ear candling as a way to resolve this issue and prevent future problems. Some practitioners also state that ear candling improves overall health by balancing the lymphatic system, or even helping to align the chakras. Doctors often question these cited benefits of ear candling, however, and frequently state that theory behind the practice is contradictory to the laws of physics; some even claim that ear candling could potentially be dangerous.

Ear candles are used to alleviate ear pain and blockages.
Ear candles are used to alleviate ear pain and blockages.

It is possible to cause burns to the face or ear due to the hot wax, and if the wax melts, it could potentially become stuck in the ear canal, having an effect opposite to that intended. In some cases, it may even be possible to cause damage to the ear drum. Even if these dangers rarely occur, medical practitioners will often assert that the benefits of ear candling are not real, and that the candles are not capable of creating a vacuum with enough pressure to actually extract wax from the ear canal, claiming that much pressure would actually damage the ear drum. The visible "debris" found in the hollow candle after removing it from the ear may have just come from the candle itself. For those seeking the benefits of ear candling, it is important to do sufficient research, and to be careful if attempting this practice.

Ear candling involves inserting a hollowed out candle into the ear canal.
Ear candling involves inserting a hollowed out candle into the ear canal.
Some people use ear candling in the hope of easing persistent and painful sinus pressure.
Some people use ear candling in the hope of easing persistent and painful sinus pressure.
Ear wax prevents irritation in the ear canal.
Ear wax prevents irritation in the ear canal.
Some doctors believe that the stated benefits of ear candling are fabricated.
Some doctors believe that the stated benefits of ear candling are fabricated.

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Discussion Comments

Wisedly33

I have a couple of friends who are really proponents of ear candling, but I never saw the benefits of it, myself. In the interests of full disclosure, I've never had it done, but nothing I've ever read about it has convinced me that it's something I'd be interested in doing.

I don't pooh-pooh alternative therapies at all. I just think you have to research whether they are right for you. I don't think ear candling is right for me, but if anyone derives some benefits from the process and it makes them feel better, I certainly don't have a problem with it.

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