During a period of dietary cleansing it feels appropriate to bring the same energy to other aspects of my life as well. For instance, while I avoid major projects, it’s a great time to de-clutter a shelf or organize a sloppy drawer that’s been bugging me. I treat myself to lots of dry brushing and a sauna or a steam bath to encourage detoxification and drink lots of dandelion tea and lemon water. Also about once a year I have my ears candled. People ask me about my experience with this quite frequently so I thought I’d share it with you here.
Ear candling was first practiced by the ancient Egyptians. Ear candles are hollow cones made from muslin and beeswax. The tip is lit and the hot air created inside the cone melts and gently draws earwax out of your ears. Ear wax is a waste product composed mostly of dead skin cells and body oil. Nice, right? Let’s call it EW for short, shall we? When EW builds up it can be a breeding ground for bacteria and yeast, trap dirt or even create a plug that inhibits hearing.
I realize that this is a controversial practice and it’s not for everyone. There are other ways to remove wax that any mainstream doctor can tell you about but they tend to remove less wax than candling. Candling is what works best for me partly because I have unusually large ear canals, like, double the size of most peoples’ so I’m constantly bothered by dirt, etc in my ears. If you don’t happen to have giant caves in the side of your head a less dramatic fix may work for you. If you have any abnormalities in your ears or even a nervous feeling about whether candling is right for you, seek advice from your naturopath. Two candling anecdotes for you:
- I had one friend who had become so accustomed to having a lot of wax in her ears that having it removed made her dizzy for a couple of days. She says she won’t candle again.
- I had another friend who found a blood-filled tick inside his candle. I love stuff like that; it’s so entertaining and gross.
Anyway, I’ve been candling for years with only amazing results: less itching in my ears, better hearing, fewer sore throats. I’ll often hear people recommend doing it every month or every three months. Personally, I can’t imagine wanting it done more than once a year.
To candle: You need to have another person help you. It’s not that complicated though so you don’t necessarily need a professional’s help. Having said that, if you find yourself in Vancouver, I loved having this lady do my candling for me.
Two days before my candling I make an anti-bacterial, anti-fungal oil by soaking a garlic clove in some olive oil. It needs to sit 24-48 hours for the properties of the garlic to infuse the oil. The night before my candling, I pour a little oil in each ear to soften the wax.
When you are ready to candle, lie on your side. Your helper will place a foil wrapped paper plate with a hole in it over your face to protect it, positioning the hole over your ear and have scissors and a wet cloth handy. They will gently insert the narrow tip of the candle in your ear and light the end of the candle. When the ash on the top of the candle appears, the helper will cut the ash into the wet cloth so it doesn’t fall on you. About 7 minutes later your candle will run down to the marked point near the tip. Pull the candle out and set aside. It is important to do a second candle in the same ear right away. The first candle really just serves to warm up the wax in the ear and the second candle is what pulls it out. If you don’t do two candles in each ear you run the risk of pulling EW only part way out. This happened to me once and was a bit uncomfortable.
Repeat the two candle process on the other side, then cut open then candles. This is the fun part! I’m probably revealing way too much of myself here but this is, indeed, my idea of a good time. Your candles will be full of ash and dark wax. If candling is right for you, you’ll probably feel really great about getting all that gunk out of there. If you’re lucky, you might even find a tick.