More and more attention today is been paid on alternative medicine and its wide variety of remedies and treatments. While the traditional science does acknowledge some of the effects of alternative medicine, and even learns from it so some aspects can be used more widely, in classic clinics and hospitals, some of the tools and remedies the alternative medicine uses are downright dangerous and should be avoided. According to many experts, ear candling is one of those techniques.
What is ear candling?
Ear candling is an alternative medicine technique that claims to clean the ear canal of earwax and debris, but it does not stop on that. Advocates of ear candling claim that this method also purifies the body, especially the head region, by expelling harmful toxins. It is supposed to be a very pleasant treatment, during which a patient has a feeling of great relaxation as the toxins supposedly leave the body. Some patients in fact do experience a very pleasant feeling, while others have complained about discomfort it causes.
This treatment uses a cone made of paper soaked in paraffin wax. The pointy end of the cone is inserted into the ear and the other end is lit. The side of the face is usually protected with paper or foil to prevent injury. The cone burns for about 10 to 15 minutes, after which time it is put out, taken out of the ear and opened so the patient can see the debris it took out. The debris is claimed to be made not only of earwax, but also of yeast and other harmful agents, as well as of toxins.
Ear candling effectiveness and risks
Opponents of ear candling claim that not only this method does not expel any toxins, but that it is also questionable its effectiveness in cleaning the earwax from the ear canal. In order to remove earwax, there has to be a certain amount of suction. The heat an ear candle generates is not sufficient for that goal, and it is more or less equal to the amount of heat that is produces by normal paper burning. As for the debris that gets accumulated inside the cone, it is probably just made of paraffin wax itself, along with the ashes and powders that result form paper burning.
Because this method is fairly popular, many experts focused their research on finding whether it is effective or not. In most cases, after extensive research, the conclusion was that ear candling does not have any medical benefits whatsoever.
More importantly, ear candling may cause health problems, for example a punctured eardrum. Injuries to the ear can be very serious and they are usually painful while their treatment certainly costs much more than $5 that are usually spent on an ear candle.