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Ear Candling Instructions

Updated on January 7, 2018

Among the most common problems affecting the ears are excessive wax buildup, which can cause hearing difficulties or itching; earaches (caused when fluid accumulates in the middle ear and exerts pressure against the eardrum); tinnitus (constant ringing in the ear) and labyrinthitis (which can cause a spinning sensation). While these problems can be very distressing, they are usually not medically serious. For centuries, people have been achieving relief from these problems through a simple home remedy called Ear Candling.

What are Ear Candles?

Ear candles are actually long, narrow cones. They look like cotton candy cones, but are narrower. Made of strips of unbleached muslin dipped in beeswax or paraffin, they taper to a rounded tip, with a small opening. The tipped end is designed to fit comfortably into the ear. The cones are available plain, or infused with herbal extracts. Many users feel the herbal cones have an enhanced therapeutic effect.

How Does Ear Candling Work?

The cone is inserted into the ear and lighted, just like a candle. Warm, soothing smoke from the candle flows into the ear and sinuses. This helps soften and dislodge hardened, excess earwax, toxic residue from past infections or medications, and other debris. This debris is drawn out through the ear canal and into the cone during the candling process. Ear candling facilitates natural healing and wax excretion, so that additional fluid and residue may ejected by the ear during the days following the ear candling treatment.

Ear Candling is a gentle, non-invasive and relaxing experience. Traditionally, it has been conducted with the person being candled lying on his or her side, and someone else performing the candling. This method can be dangerous, and is not conducive to self-candling. We recommend a modern method of ear candling, where the subject is in a sitting position. The sitting method permits easy candling of one’s own ears, by using a mirror.

What will come out of my ears?

Sometimes the discharge will be powdery and tan or yellowish in color. Other times it may be darker in color, and very waxy. Often, dust and dirt entering the ear clings to, or gets mixed with the earwax, causing a dark orange, sticky excretion. A dusty work environment, exposure to chemical vapors, prolonged ingestion of prescription drugs, and your diet are all factors that can affect what comes out of your ears. Sometimes, candling will elicit middle ear drainage, which may be greenish in color and have a foul odor. In general, very dark excretions indicate the presence of bacteria, pus, residue from past infections, or other toxins.

Exactly what is Earwax?

Earwax, medically known as cerumen, is a natural substance excreted by the ceruminous glands in the outer ear. It provides a chemical barrier to infection and a physical barrier to help prevent dust and dirt from entering the ear. Normally, the ear eliminates earwax spontaneously. But, dust and dirt particles in the air can adhere to the sticky wax, creating a substance not expelled naturally. Instead of acting as a defense against infection, the earwax, itself, can become an infecting and troublesome substance. Ceruminosis is the medical term used to describe serious earwax accumulation, impaction and infection.

How will Ear Candling affect me?

mmediate results can range from the very dramatic to the imperceptible. Many people report feeling pleasantly light-headed, or more "in balance". Frequently, people hear better. They say sounds and voices seem clearer and sharper. Others find relief from pain, pressure or ringing in the ears. (It may take several candling sessions to relieve problems that have persisted for a long time.) Some report that they can think more clearly and function more creatively. Still others experience an emotional release as clogging debris and toxins are removed from the ears. Some people feel nothing immediately after candling, but notice positive results, including discharge of excess earwax, over the next few days.

How often should the ears be candled?

For first-time candlers, who want to achieve a thorough cleansing, we recommend candling in two or three sessions, three to five days apart. Use one to three candles per ear, per session until your ears feel thoroughly cleansed. After that, ears should be candled about every three months. People with heavy wax buildup may need more frequent candling. Your own good judgment and experience will determine how often you should candle your ears.

A person with a severe problem or pain can have candling done in two sessions, 24 hours apart, using at least 2, but never more than 4 candles per ear, per session. It is not wise to be candled every day or to use too many candles in one procedure. Seek medical attention if candling does not alleviate the problem.

Should children be candled?

Infants and young children sometimes get extremely painful earaches, and candling can be a godsend for them. However, you should seek the advice of a doctor or holistic practitioner before candling children. When candling infants or children, exercise extreme caution, so as not to damage the eardrum, and use no more than ½ to 1 candle per ear. If symptoms persist, see your doctor.

How to Candle the Ears

Gather your supplies:

  • Ear Candles
  • Lighter or matches
  • Towel
  • Bowl of water
  • Very sharp scissors
  • Cotton swabs
  • Aluminum pie plate or paper plate,
    with hole cut off-center for candle
    (needed for traditional method.)

Candling someone else's ears, in the sitting position

1. Seat person being candled (subject) comfortably. Have bowl of water and scissors handy.

2. Cover subject's shoulder with towel, in case of falling ash.

3. Insert small end of candle into the ear. With subject's help, position the candle so that it fits comfortably but snugly into the ear. Subject's head should be tilted, and the candle should be angled upward, Have subject hold the candle steady as it burns, so your hands will be free to snip ashes and massage around subject's ears.

4. Light the candle. Warm smoke will now flow into the ear. For a more soothing ear candling experience, massage sinuses around the ears, eyes and forehead while candling. When the ash gets to about 2" long and starts to curl over, snip it off into the bowl of water, preferably without removing the candle from the ear.

5. When the candle has burned down to about 3", remove it from the ear and extinguish the flame in the water. Cut the unburned stub open, lengthwise, to see what came out of the ear.

Candling your own ears

You can easily candle your own ears, by using a hand mirror. Simply modify the above procedure as follows:

1. Seat yourself comfortably at a table, and use the mirror to see what you are doing.

2. Light the candle before inserting it into your ear.

3. When the ash needs to be snipped, remove the candle from your ear, quickly snip off the ash into the bowl of water, and put the candle back into your ear.

The traditional method of ear candling

Over the centuries, ear candling has been conducted with the subject lying on his or her side, and the candle inserted into the ear in a vertical position. If you attempt this method, make safety your number one priority. When it's time to snip the ash, remove the candle from the ear, as when self-candling. Quickly snip off the ash into a bowl of water, and put the candle back into the ear. Have subject hold the candle steady, so that your hands are free to massage around the ears. Be absolutely certain that you use the pie plate as a shield, in case the ash goes astray.


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