Thermo-auricular Therapy – its history and practice

Also known by many as ‘ear candling’ and is sometimes credited with having origins in the Hopi Indian tribe. Whatever the background there is quite a lot of historical evidence which is believed by many to show that this is not a new complementary therapy but that people around the world have been using and were familiar with the practice of ear candling as far back as the year 2500 BC. Ancient cultures, including the Egyptians, make reference to their use. Parchment scrolls discovered in the Orient, also describe the procedure for ear candling, sometimes known as ear coning.

This ancient therapeutic art may have been developed with the domestication of the honeybee. Beeswax was – and still is – a key component to making the reputable versions of the hollow cylinders used in the procedure. The principal cloth used by ancient Egyptians was linen made from flax (the fibres of an annual blue-flowered plant).

Image reproduced with kind permission of Thermo-auricular therapy

What are the candles like?

We only use Biosun candles. They have the CE mark as being an authorised medical device meeting all the relevant European standards and directives. They are a hollow tube approximately 0.75cm in diameter and 22cm (9 inches) long formed from organic cotton which has been impregnated with camomile; sage, St Johns Wort and honey.

Beware the many other types of ear candles which are cheap and very dangerous. At their worst they have sharp points on the end and have conventional candle wax as a key ingredient!!

What happens during the session?

The process of burning a Biosun candle in the ear, if fitted correctly to create a gentle vacuum as the flame burns, enables the herbal and honey vapours to be drawn down into the outer ear canal and appears to encourage the gentle drawing up into the candle of a range of ear contents which can include wax, pollen and even (rarely) insects. My own experience is that this is not the only action of the candles, and some of this may align with the experience of those who fly. During the session there appears to be a strong indication that the Eustachian tubes may open slightly to rebalance the pressure on both sides of the eardrum with the resultant effect that some drainage takes place into the sinuses. Thus some clients may find they have a slight ‘drip’ at the back of the mouth over the days following treatment as the ears continue to clear.

This simple and time-proven therapy can be a very effective and gentle method for removing old and troublesome blockages from the ear canal, without the use of ear solutions, probes or grommets. There are those who are cynical as to whether wax and other ear contents are drawn up into the candle but my experience has borne out that where a client has a considerable amount of wax then provided it is not compacted the candle burns off much of that excess wax during the treatment with the flame burning more fiercely and considerable fizzing being audible: there is very little or no wax in the candle on completion. Clients have reported feeling ‘lumps’ of wax being suctioned out of their ears and to date that specific experience has been backed up by checking the candle on completion of the treatment to find what can best be described as small pieces of gravel in the candle. In the spring/summer it is common for ears to accumulate a high level of pollen which the candles will draw out, in marked contrast to an absence of pollen in the winter months.

NOTE: Those who allow ear issues to build up to the level where they are unable to hear and/or are in a great deal of pain may well need to receive more than one treatment on consecutive days as the wax will tend to be a large mass which will be too big to draw up the candle. Softening the wax with drops for several days before treatment may help but might not reduce its size sufficiently to enable other than the softened wax to be drawn up. Thus an iterative process may be necessary whereby drops are used, followed by candling, followed by more drops and a second or even third candling where a severe build up has occurred. The candle can draw up considerable pieces of wax but clearly is restricted by the size of the ear orifice and the diameter of the candle. Ear candling at intervals once the blockage has been cleared may help calm down the ear canal (due to the constituents being cammomile, sage, honey and hypericum) thus reducing the amount of wax produced in the first place and avoiding further problems. However there can be no guarantees given unfortunately.

This treatment can also be very helpful for those who suffer from allergic or fungal-type skin conditions in the ear (for example DJs, those who wear earphones for lengthy periods of time and those who wear hearing aids) due to the antiseptic and calming effect of both the honey and the specific essential oils contained in the candle. Be aware of the candle ingredients however to ensure there is no allergy to them.

Any ear-candling treatment we administer is followed by auricular reflexology and, where there are no contra-indications such as Botox-type treatment, a facial massage is given with sinus drainage to prolong the benefits of this treatment. Hand reflexology is offered as the alternative where there are contra-indications or where the client prefers this to having their ears and/or face treated.

Biosun Ear Candles are believed by many to help with:

  • Tinnitus, compacted ear wax and glue ear
  • Sore throats and hay fever
  • Headache and migraine
  • Sinusitis and rhinitis
  • Catarrh and asthma
  • Vertigo
  • Menier’s Disease
  • Neuralgia

Ear Candles must not be used on anyone with:

  • Perforation or lack of eardrum
  • Ventilation tubes, auricular drains or grommets
  • Recent ear surgery
  • Auricular cysts
  • Acute mastoiditis
  • Otosclerosis or Otospongiosis
  • Ear tumour

unless conventional medical approval has been given.

If you are in doubt about any of these conditions or problems you have with your ears you must consult your GP before attending a treatment.

How is the treatment conducted?

  • Client remains fully clothed at all times
  • A short consultation about medications and ear conditions
  • A ticking clock is held at varying distances from the ear to ascertain the pre-treatment level of hearing in each ear.
  • The client lies on their side on a couch, with the ear identified by the client as being ‘worst’ uppermost, with blankets and pillows to suit.
  • A candle is then gently inserted into the outer part of the ear and lit (each candle burns for approximately 9-11 minutes depending on the condition of the ear)
  • The entire ear is then given gentle auricular therapy, including the sinus drainage points on that side of the head. The second ear is then treated in similar manner
  • A facial massage with sinus drainage aims to balance the body, stimulate circulation and promote continuing drainage from the ear canals.
  • Ear seeds may be offered where indications are that they may help the client prolong treatment for a few days.
  • The client will be asked to drink a glass of water to rehydrate
  • The candles can then be examined to identify any possible problems with the ears and ascertain whether further treatments are needed.
  • The ticking clock is re-used to check the after-treatment levels of hearing.