Ear Candling: Cleaning a Lifetime of Debris

Though centuries old, the ancient technique of ear candling or ear coning has seen increasing interest in the past decade in the holistic community. Thought to have originated with the Egyptians, it was used for spiritual cleansing as well as physical cleaning.It was believed to open and clear the spirit centers and refresh the auras.

Original style coning by the Egyptians utilized hollow reeds. Today, coning/candling uses a hollow candle, much like a large straw. Although they differ, most candles are made of 100% unbleached cotton (muslin) fabric coated with purified paraffins and/or bees’ wax. There are also some specialty candles which contain herbs and essential oils.

Those that utilize candling believe it applies simple laws of science. The flame of the candle (when the candle is properly seated in the ear) creates a draw or vacuum which pulls the wax, fungus, candida, yeast, and other particles of debris out of the ear and up into the bottom of the candle. The vacuum is caused by the warmed air from the flame and the colder existing air moving through the hollow chamber of the candle.

ear candlingmovement and compression between the ear canal and the candle chamber generate air flow with increasing velocity, thus producing the “sucking” vacuum. As the particles are drawn from the ear and into the bottom of the candle, the air flow becomes disrupted. This is why it is important to remove the candle and “tap out” the contents.

Why candle?
The purpose of candling is to remove wax buildup, especially the heavy impacted wax that normal cleaning cannot remove. Candling is a more comfortable and less expensive alternative to the traditional cleaning method of forcing water into the ear canal.

Candling is also believed to remove candida, yeasts, fungus, and remnants of past infections. The Ear, Nose and Throat Journal of U of U Medical lab reported that the types of bacteria we currently fight in our ears include Streptococcus pneumonia, Staphylococcus aureus, Anaerobic bacteria, and Influenza A and B.

Candling can be done on persons of any age.  Inner ear infection is one of the top reasons for hospital admittance in children. Holistically, candling has been used as a last effort for treating chronic ear infections and to avoid ear tubal placement. As well as focusing on the ear, candling is believed to work on the sinus and lymph system, removing impurities there as well.

Other benefits claimed by those using candling are:

  • an improved sense of balance
  • keener sense of smell
  • an over-all improved feeling of well-being

A lifetime of residues build up in the ear canal! Because of all the intricate crevices in the ear, unbelievable amounts of debris can accumulate. This buildup creates a breeding ground for problems and can also interfere with correct hearing. Impacted wax can build up against ear ducts and can also block reception of incoming sound waves. This lifetime accumulation may explain some of the hearing problems we develop as we age. It is reported that 20% of adults between 65-74 have hearing problems.

It is important to discuss candling with your health practitioner and always use common sense. Candling is not a replacement for proper health care, but can be an effective home remedy. Candling should not be done on a person who has a perforated eardrum or similar problems.

How is ear candling done?

Candling is quite simple and is done with a partner. Generally, three candles are used in each ear. This varies from person to person as does the frequency of candling. Read and follow the specific instructions which come with your candles.

The basic procedure is to have the person whose ears are being candled to lay on his/her side or to place their head sideways on a table. Be sure they are comfortable, as candling can take 15-20 minutes per candle, depending on the type of candle. The “candlee” should place the small tapered end of the candle snugly into the ear. (The candle may be inserted through a paper plate covered with aluminum foil to protect the face and hair.) The candle must fit snugly to allow proper air draw. As the bottom fills, gently tap it out in a bowl and carefully cut back the burned wick. The “suction” sounds much like the gentle hum one hears when a seashell is placed against the ear.

After candling, it is recommended to gently rinse the ears and place a couple of drops of oil of garlic into the ear. The normal wax will be replaced within 24 hours. For the first 24 hours after candling, it is best to protect the ears from wind, cold, and excessive amounts of water. Within 24 hours the normal production of wax will again protect the ear.


CAUTION: Ear candles are a home remedy and should not take the place of medical treatment. They make no medical claims. They are not a medical device or take the place of any medical device.

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