An ear candle is a narrow, hollow cone that has been soaked in
beeswax or paraffin and allowed to harden. During ear candling,
the recipient of this so-called "therapy" lies on his or her side
while someone else inserts the point of the cone inside the ear.
The top of the cone is then set on fire and left to burn for a
few minutes. The health claim most often made for ear candling
is that the flame creates warmth and suction, which draws ear
wax out of the ear canal. Some promoters also say that ear candling
can cure a wide range of medical problems, including ear aches,
sinus infections, sinus pain and pressure, and vertigo.
The art of ear coning dates back for centuries, to the ancient
Egyptian, Chinese, Tibetan, Aztec, Mayan and American Indian cultures.
Cherokee, Mexican Indian and European healers interested in reviving
the lost traditions still practice coning. German medical students
are taught coning as a part of their medical practice. It is said
that the Amish use ear cones as well.
As the cone burns, smoke moves the debris out of the ear. Osmosis
(diffusion through a semi-permeable membrane - e.g. skin) plays
an important role as the smoke soothes the sinus and nasal cavities.
Excess earwax is moved through the ear canal into the cone. This
is a very gentle and non-invasive process. Frequently participants
appear to have just awakened or have a sweetly stoned look.