Ear Candling Isn't What You Think It Is—Health Trend Or Health Fraud?

April 21, 2023

Have you ever heard of ear candling? Despite its dangerous-sounding name, when done carefully, candling an ear is actually safe. Ear candling, also referred to as ear coning, looks quite weird, and the sensation can be even weirder. Just like with cleaning our ears using cotton swabs, there is a group of people who love the feeling and another who can’t stand it. That’s the same for ear candling. What is it exactly? And what are its benefits?

Reasons for Ear Candling

Do your ears need cleaning?

First off, let’s talk about ears. The ears contain the smallest bones in the whole human body, specifically in the middle ear. Hearing never turns off, so to speak. Our ears are still listening to sounds even as we sleep, but our brains block out much of the noise. Ears are wonderful at self-cleaning, and earwax is actually a buildup that protects our inner ears from dirt and dust. However, too much earwax can cause issues. If one loses their hearing or damages the ears, they can experience a change in their sense of taste. This is due to a nerve that runs through the ear and connects the taste buds on the front of your tongue to your brain. 

Benefits of ear candling

Some people do struggle with a buildup of wax in their ears that makes it hard to hear. That’s where ear candling comes in. You’ll find several health-centric people on social media talking about this home remedy. Some of the benefits that ear candling have helped individuals with are relieving sinusitis pressure, improving hearing, lessening of tinnitus, cleansing of the ear canal, and diminishing vertigo symptoms. However, this treatment should never be substituted for medical advice, and always seek the advice of a doctor when it comes to hearing problems.

There are reports claiming ear candling dates back to 2500 BCE when parchment scrolls describing the process of ear candling were found in the Orient. Egyptians were said to have used this method as well. The most reputable sources cite that it was the Hopi Indians who were the first to popularize ear candling. They saw not only the health benefits but spiritual benefits of the process. It can help relieve stress and tension, open up blocked chakras, and even purify energies.

So how exactly does ear candling work?

photo of ear

The ear candles themselves are hollow cotton tubes about 10–12 inches long, with either beeswax or paraffin wax, which is the vegan alternative. There’s a small opening on one end and a larger opening on the other. The end with the smaller hole is what is comfortably inserted into either ear, and the other end is lit with a match. The best analogy to use is that of a chimney but upside down. The heat from the fire creates a type of compression that is able to draw out the wax, dirt, and debris from inside the ear canal. After burning the candle until it’s between 4–6 inches from the ear, one would remove it and safely extinguish the flame. From there you can open, or unravel the tube. What is inside are remnants from the buildup of earwax.

Now some report that this is all a hoax. There a people who’ve made videos online “proving” that if you were to burn an ear candle separate from an ear, you’ll find the same substance inside the candle. It’s not clear what types of ear candles they were using, so the jury is still out on this one. From my own personal experience, I have candled 5 different people’s ears and they all claimed benefits right after. When I get it done on myself, I can noticeably tell a difference right away in how clear my hearing is, no matter how much earwax is gathered.

Is it all psychosomatic? Maybe. But if anything, laying still and horizontal for 10–20 minutes isn’t a bad thing. What if it’s the act of simply being still and breathing that brings a lot of the desired benefits? We don’t get the opportunity often to set aside time for our health in ways like ear candling. Try it for yourself and see. Generally, ear candles can be purchased at health food stores and online. It isn’t recommended to try it on yourself. Furthermore, use caution when performing ear candling on other individuals and always have water on hand. 

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Photo: Hayes Potter on Unsplash

Paige Butzlaff
Paige has been writing since she was 7 years old. She's an avid fan of reading, especially metaphysical books, and sipping on matcha tea lattes. An ethical vegan, Paige is passionate about activism and raising awareness. Her passions also include yoga and cats. She calls Southern California her home and the Universe her playground. Follow Paige on Instagram @beingpaige and YouTube.


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