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You have probably tried using alternative medicine for treating some sorts of health problems you encountered. This type of medicine may or may not have been effective for your purposes. Alternative medicine, in fact, is a very broad term, encompassing every treatment method which is not considered to be standard. So, alternative medicine can be very useful while, at the same time, it can lead to side-effects or be useless. For these reasons, many experts do not perceive alternative medicine as real medicine.

Nevertheless, people have used methods of alternative medicine to get cured since time immemorial. One method of this type is lighting one end of a hollow candle while keeping the other inside your ear canal, in order to clean the area and boost your general health.


The process briefly mentioned above is called the thermal-auricular therapy. Even though it is ineffective when it comes to ear wax removal and expelling of toxins from the body, some people claim that this therapy has great potential regarding the improvement of one's general well-being.

Manufacturers of the candles used for the thermal-auricular therapy, as well as practitioners who perform the therapy claim that the process is more than useful for treating health problems such as tinnitus, excessive earwax, cold and flu, inner ear pressure, swimmer's ear, headaches, balance issues and many other problems, stimulating the flow of energy and blood, promoting general health.

Many medical researchers beg to differ, saying that thermal-auricular therapy is dangerous and pointless.


The candles used for this procedure can either be cone or cylinder-shaped. One end of the candle is lit and the other is placed in the patient's ear. If a flame from the candle gets too strong, it can be regulated and balanced by cutting the fuse shorter, using a pair of scissors.

During the process, the patient is supposed to lie down on one side, with the affected ear pointed towards the ceiling. Alternatively, in order to avoid getting exposed to the hot wax during the process, the patient may lie on his back, having the candle placed in his/her ear at a 45 degrees angle.

Those who believe in the effectiveness of the thermal-auricular therapy say that the main power of it lies in the fact that the flame of the candle creates a negative pressure, driving the earwax out and clearing the ear canal. The whole process may last from 15 to 45 minutes and more than a single candle can be used for this purpose.

After a Treatment

When the candle decreases to 1/3 of its actual size, it is removed from the ear canal and the process is considered done. Then, the patient is supposed to rest and relax for about 10 minutes. In order to make this resting phase even more useful, the therapist usually gives scalp and face massage to the patient.

The detoxifying effect of this therapy is said to take place within the two days after the process and people who undergo the thermal-auricular therapy are advised to increase their water intake over the several following days.

Once the therapy is finished, the patient is not advised to participate in water sports or swim. Rather, during the 2 hours after the therapy, he/she should keep the ear warm and protected.

Numerous studies have been carried out regarding this controversial treatment. In 2007, a Canadian family physician concluded that no positive effects have been noticed to come out of this therapy. Yet, due to the fact that no good nor harm can come out of the process, he added, people should not indulge into the thermal-auricular therapy.

The American Family Physician in a 2007 issue reported that the thermal-auricular therapy can be dangerous due to the possibility of getting burnt or exposed to hot candle wax.

Furthermore, a study carried out in 1996 discovered that there is no negative pressure created during the thermal-auricular therapy. Thus, it is impossible to remove earwax through this procedure.

Finally, in many countries, including the US and Canada, these candles are allowed to be sold and purchased, but the manufacturers are forbidden to note that the candles can actually treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any diseases.

The candles are known to have some side-effects such as ear inflammation, infections, cysts, head injury, eardrum damage etc. Therefore, many individuals avoid the thermal-auricular therapy, especially when they consider it ineffective in the first place.

Ultimately, you can either try or skip thermal-auricular therapy, deciding to either listen to the skeptics or the satisfied users of ear candles. Many people managed to overcome their health problems through this therapy and many people failed to achieve this, or any, effect. Moreover, numerous individuals got hurt during this alternative medicine process.

So, the choice is yours. Be careful, follow the instructions and see whether the thermal-auricular therapy works for you or not or play it on the safe side and opt for traditional medicine instead.

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