If the winter cold has take its toll on your ears, naturopath Lyn Craven has a comforting suggestion
Ear candling is an ancient healing treatment, which is experiencing a revival in modern times. It was used by many of the ancient cultures such as the Hopi Indians of North America, Egyptian, East Asian and European.
Some candles are made from beeswax and herbs, others just from beeswax. I prefer to use candles that contain herbs since I feel this enhances the treatment. The candle is gently inserted just at the entrance to the ear and held steadily during the entire treatment. It is then removed when the flame reaches a certain point just above where the therapist holds the candle. Some brands have a "red line" around the candle indicating that you must remove it once the flame reaches this point and have a safety filter. No beeswax, or sediment falls into the ear. The person will lie on their side for a couple of minutes and then change over and lie on their other side for treatment of the other ear.
Why would you receive ear candling?
This is a safe, pain-free and effective remedy can be used for many ear disorders including excess wax, infections, swimmers ear, glue ear and tinnitus. It is also used for certain headaches, sinusitis, catarrh, postnasal drip and sore throats.
Everyone receiving this treatment comments on how relaxing it is and they never experience discomfort. Some relief from congestion (if present) can be apparent just after one treatment. Ear candling is great to receive when you are suffering upper respiratory congestion after a bad cold or flu as it will clear all the nasal passages and free up breathing. Even if only one ear appears to be the problem it is always recommended to treat both ears in the one session.
Other techniques that help with lymph drainage and circulation can be incorporated into an ear candling session. I often include either gentle stimulation of acupressure points on the face, head and neck and around the ears or a light massage to assist with lymph drainage, on occasions using some essential oils. The full treatment takes one hour. Ear candling is very relaxing - you may even fall asleep!
An ear candling session could be incorporated with a massage or Bowen therapy so the person receives a complete rejuvenation of the body.
What to expect
There is no extreme heat during an ear candling treatment, and you do not get burnt! The sensation is a warm pleasant feeling and sometimes you may hear some crackling noises which is simply the flame slowly burning down the candle. It is not like a regular wax candle that you burn! In some stubborn cases pure virgin olive oil might be recommended to assist further with swimmers ear, eczema, and dry itchy ears.
If the individual presents with upper respiratory disorders like sinus or hay fever, for instance, then herbal remedies can be taken orally which will assist with the overall treatment.
How often should I receive a treatment?
Many people receive two to four ear candling treatments, depending on how chronic their problem is, often attending weekly. Some chronic cases may call for two treatments in the first week.
Some individuals do have a tendency to overproduce wax. If the ear is not cleaned correctly on a regular basis then residue can build up. Wax helps lubricate the ear and protect the inner ear from infection from pathogens and bacteria.
More serious disorders
Middle ear infection can be triggered by bacteria and viruses. Many doctors tend to let a virus run its course. If the virus is not treated naturally with oral herbal/homoeopathic remedies then it can trigger other disorders within the upper respiratory system. Tinnitus can manifest and also disorientation where people feel dizzy, light headed and nauseous. This can often be due to the virus or bacteria affecting the middle ear and affecting the centre of balance. All these disorders need to be addressed as soon as possible.
Another inflammatory ear disorder is labyrinthitis, which can be painful and trigger dizzy spells, inability to perform daily tasks due to constant disorientation, headaches and sinus pain. The tiny labyrinths deep inside the ear become acutely inflamed and it can be quite painful. If untreated it may lead to other serious disorders including some loss of hearing.
What is labyrinthitis?
Labyrinthitis is often caused by a virus, but can also arise from bacterial infection, head injury, extreme stress, allergies or even a reaction to medications. Bacterial and viral labyrinthitis can cause permanent hearing loss.
Can I treat myself?
It is always safer and more efficient to have someone conduct the ear candling session for you, as attempting to treat yourself may lead to burns or poor insertion. Once the candling is complete with the first ear the still lit candle is placed into a container of water to extinguish it safely.
Most manufacturers will provide instructions for use of candles and these must be adhered to at all times for safety reasons.
Anyone who wears a mechanical device in their ears or who has had surgery or is suffering severe inflammation through a boil or abscess cannot receive ear candling.
During cases of inflammatory ear disorders ear candling cannot be used but other natural remedies can be given orally to combat the infection. Then, if necessary, ear candling can be conducted once inflammation has resolved.
Misleading information concerning ear candling has led some people to think that lumps of compacted wax are removed after the treatment, or that wax is attached to the end of the candle when it is removed. This has never been the case with treatments I have conducted! The warmth of the candle assists in softening any hardened wax to enable you to remove it a little later with a tiny piece of cotton wool or a clean little finger. Cotton buds must not be used to clean out your ears as they are too slim and people often poke them too far inside the ear, which can cause damage. Your little finger is the perfect size anatomically to fit into your ear with some cotton wool to clear out any wax later, after the treatment is finished.
All in all ear candling is a pleasant and relaxing treatment to receive which, from personal experience and observation of clients, I can recommend.
Lyn Craven is a Practitioner of Naturopathy, Bowen Therapy and Energy/Reiki Therapist and Corporate Health Consultant. Lyn has written articles on a variety of topics and runs a private practice located in Bondi, Sydney. Lyn has recently created a Meditation CD for Anxiety, Stress and Self Healing. She can be contacted on 0403 231 804 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Lyn Craven is a practitioner of Naturopathy, Bowen Therapy, Energy/Reiki therapist, meditation teacher and Corporate Health Consultant. She is also a health researcher/writer and has produced a meditation CD assisting people to manage anxiety and stress. She runs a private practice in Sydney and can be contacted on +61403 231 804