An attempted self-application of ear candling. Photo by Bjørn Bulthuis via Wikimedia Commons.
Ear candling is a practice where a hollow candle is placed into a person's ear and lit in the belief that this will help remove ear wax or treat diseases such as sinus infections. Despite evidence that it is dangerous and ineffective the practice is used by natural therapists in Australia and overseas.
Have you heard of ear candling before? Have you ever used it?
I have heard of it and indeed do it quite often myself. Done properly, it is certainly not dangerous and it is very effective. You should never do it to yourself though. It is a technique that has been used for centuries to gently treat ear and sinus problems and I can speak both for myself and my husband (a very sceptical Western scientist) that it does work.
That's kind of a No True Scotsman fallacy to say "if done properly" it's safe and effective, because any time it's shown not to be safe or not to be effective you can just say "well that's because it wasn't done properly".
Oh, and also an appeal to tradition, which is where you imply that because something is traditional or old it must be good/correct, which is not actually the case. http://www.logicalfallacies.info/relevance/appeals/appeal-to-tradition/
It was 20 years ago, so I can't remember very well. I don't remember feeling much heat, but I do remember it tickled a bit and I could feel air and wax maybe being pulled out of my ear. The inside of the candle looked rather gross when I was done. I have read that the leftovers in the candle may actually be the melted paper/wax from the candle and not the ear, but I have no idea - it looked like ear wax to me. I obviously didn't get much more than an experience out of it, because I never wanted to do it again!
My Mum always told me "never put anything in your ear that's smaller than your elbow." Also, the claims of practitioners have been proven to be false. There might be a placebo effect, but it can't affect your sinuses when they aren't connected to that part of your ear and it doesn't remove wax.
My husband surfs and often experiences water logged ears. He once asked me to perform ear candling on him - begrudgingly I agreed as I'm not comfortable inserting anything into the ear. The result was benign, it neither helped or hindered him. In the end his ears were so water logged and impacted with wax he needed to get a doctor to syringe his eyes 3 times before he saw any results. Anything to do with ears are best left with doctors.
The Tinnitus association advises against this process for obvious reasons - that possibly even if ear wax is removed, other stuff could get in and make the condition worse.
A friend of mine did it last year after suffering bouts of vertigo and posted photos online of the supposed blackened ear wax but I wasn't sure she had that much there.
I've heard of it, but I just don't get it. I don't understand how it is supposed to help with any ailments. I've seen it advertised a lot so I guess some people think it is helpful, but not for me I'm afraid.
Obviously a very loaded question considering the use of the words 'Despite evidence that it is dangerous and ineffective' in the posting'. After once having my ears plunged by a very trusted and proficient GP and my ear drum being perforated, I was reluctant to ever have that procedure again. When I was having trouble with my ears again a few years ago and having plans to take a long distance flight I was too scared to have them plunged and cleared in the same way. I decided to use ear wax softening ear drops then tried candling, I must say it was a weird experience. Warm and crackly but very relaxing. In the end there were two very large ugly blobs of wax but I definitely felt clearer and my hearing improved as I knew things were a little muffled beforehand.
Other than acupuncture it is the only alternate medicine or procedure I have tried and I would have to say I was happy with the results. It should be noted that the practitioner was very well recommended and qualified. My son suffers with the same problem occasionally so think I will try the same practitioner for him. As with all practitioners, qualified, professional and good recommendations make a difference.
Sure, it's absolutely a loaded question. Questions on Answer Angels don't have to be impartial. Sometimes they are, sometimes not. In this case I decided to phrase it that way because I could provide facts to back it up (links above). When you say a practitioner of ear candling is qualified, what exactly is their quaification? Is there a degree in that? Can a practioner be stripped of his or her qualification for malpractice? Is there a professional organisation that oversees how the procedure is done, and a system for reporting any injuries that occur as there is for doctors? All of these things would be concerns for me.
I have used ear candling many times. I tried it first to make sure it was ok and to know how it felt. Have used it for my daughter after that to prevent having another operation for glue ear and having yet another set of grommets put into her ear. Grommets were damaging her eardrum, so ear candles were a far better alternative and worked brilliantly !! I continue to use them and know other people who do also. Everybody has different results depending on the amount of 'gunk' in the ear. It's a warm sensation & I could hear the crackling sound but found it quite relaxing.