What is Ear Candling?
Ear candling – or thermo-auricular therapy as it is also known – refers to an ancient, non-invasive complementary therapy designed to help treat conditions associated with the ear, nose and throat.
It is a technique that involves placing a hollow, cone-shaped tube (or ‘candle’) made of cotton, soaked in beeswax, honey and herbs into the ear canal in order to stimulate the ear and facilitate the removal of excess wax and impurities.
Ear candle treatment varies according to the shape and size of the candles, as well as the ingredients impregnated into the lining, but all are considered to have the same benefits – particularly for conditions such as sinus problems, compacted ear wax, tinnitus and headaches. Ear candling can also be used to promote deep relaxation and is thought to have therapeutic benefits which can help to relieve stress and revitalise the body.
Although it has been used for thousands of years around the world, ear candling has only recently been introduced by the NHS for use alongside conventional medical treatments such as grommets, antibiotics and ear syringing.
How do ear candles work?
Ear candle treatment begins with long, hollow ‘candles’ which are manufactured using organic cotton and a selection of natural ingredients such as honey extracts, crushed herbs, and beeswax which are impregnated into the lining.
The candle is gently placed about a quarter-inch into ear and lit, allowing the flame to pass down the candle’s hollow centre deeper into the ear canal. The warm air eventually comes into contact with colder air and a vacuum effect is created – drawing out any wax, candida, yeast and other debris that may be lodged in the ear canal. The movement and compression between the ear canal and the candle chamber generate air flow that functions like a chimney. This ‘chimney effect’ is what stimulates the sucking action.
The removal of excess wax and impurities helps to clear the inner ear and sinuses, regulates ear pressure and brings about a lighter sensation in the head and ears. Ear candling is also thought to induce deep relaxation, which is enhanced via the infusion of herbs and essential oils into the candle itself. This turns to vapour when the candle is lit which is then drawn into the ear canal where it creates a soothing, massaging effect that protects and softens any irritated areas in the ear.
Ear candling benefits
Ear candling is a holistic treatment – therefore it is not designed to be a specific cure for any particular ailment. However, there are considered to be a number of healing benefits and regular treatment is thought to stimulate and heal parts of the mind and body that extend beyond the immediate surrounding of the inner ear.
Regular ear candling treatments are thought to provide beneficial relief from the following conditions:
- hay fever
- anxiety and stress
- post flying and driving pressure
- swimmer’s ear
- asthma vertigo
- yeast infections
- colds and flu
- snoring itching in the ears.
Other potential ear candling benefits can include:
- Stimulation and detoxification of the lymphatic system.
- A catalyst to clear nerve endings and promote healing.
- Providing a boost to the immune system.
- Improvement to mental functions, vision, hearing, taste and colour perception.
- Bringing about a more balanced emotional state and clearer thinking.
In addition, ear candling is potentially more effective for relieving wax build up than the conventional ear syringing method used by medical professionals. Syringing involves shooting water into the ears, which can lodge wax particles further inside the ear canal causing more discomfort. If water stays lodged inside the ear for too long this can lead to infection. Ear candle treatment however is non-invasive and works by drawing out the wax rather than compacting it in further.
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