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First, I should note that I am by no means an ear candling professional. Just an interested and curious young woman who is sharing her experience with it here.

Now I must admit, I laughed the first time I saw 'ear candling' in a natural health catalog. It reminded me of other super-essentials I've stumbled across on late-night infomercials back when we had a TV. And I actually searched online to find a few of these ironic items but got completely sidetracked instead. Thank you, internet. Ahem.

And now, with another week passed, I'm determined to finish this ear candling post since I feel like I have so much else to write about in my mind. Thoughts on "the American Dream," religion and spirituality, chicks and now chickens, and springtime in all its glory. So enough. Onto ear candling.

Ear Candling 101

So, when I finally decided that ear candling was perhaps not a joke, I was curious. Curious enough though to do nothing about it. You know that feeling, right?

Until a friend mentioned her experience with ear candling at a spa. And then I read a hilarious blog post where a couple invited friends over to candle together and later compared ear wax with much laughter (I'd share the link if I could find it again). Now after that, I decided my husband and I would try husband being the patient, loving, open-minded person he is. Thanks, honey.

So as I awaited our next trip to the natural health store, I ran across this article (entertaining read as well as informative). And it got me thinking about what a beating our ears take throughout our lifetimes. In my opinion, how can we not accumulate huge amounts of wax in our ears throughout our long lives? And how could this not effect our hearing later in life? And geesh, why are ear candles so curiously under-researched?

I mean, there's always such little actual scientific research done on most natural approaches to medicine and health. And ironically, most drugs simply replicate already-existing, naturally-occurring chemical structures. I can't help but feel like ear candles get a bad name simply because they aren't manufactured by pharmaceuticals. Heck, I even read in a few places that ear candles are "expensive" and "dangerous." Um, anyone read those three-page fine-print pamphlets that come from regular-drug prescriptions?! Just the side effects alone scare me. And if expense is the issue...well, ear candles are pennies in comparison. Note: I do not recommend ear candling while your little children are up and running around the house though. Common sense is key to ear candling, as it is to life in general.

On top of that, I'm intrigued by it because in the sixth grade I did the Egg in a Bottle as my science project. Grab a milk bottle...light a little strip of paper...toss it into the hard boil egg on mouth of the milk bottle...then watch it get sucked into the bottle without breaking the shell. Seems like I could apply similar logic to ear candling? But I ran across numerous websites claiming there is absolutely no suction created in the ear from this process. Hmmm....

Now when I attempted research on ear candling all I could find was a raging debate on whether or not a vacuum is created. The "ear candling is dangerous" articles and the "ear candling can heal a huge range of issues" claims. (Honestly most of the articles I read reminded me of the vaccine argument. Extreme polarization, without much educated or substantiated discourse.)

So, we tested them ourselves.

And here's what I thought. I didn't find the experience to be extremely relaxing or enchanting, however I also didn't create that ambiance in our living space. I did enjoy laying still for ten minutes, as it was an excellent reason not to finish picking up all the toys still scattered about from the day. And listening to a flame crackle from the inside like that was unique. It reminded me of acupuncture in that you can't see what's taking place. You focus, relax and use a sense of trust in your body and in the process instead. When we were done, we cut open the candles (which are hollow, wax-covered muslin tubes more or less) to take a look at the contents. Truthfully, I was excited to see what was in there! Geesh, such a results-driven person I can be.

And Mine: Lots of powdery yellow matter (from the candle itself) and three globs of hardened yellow-orange ear wax. I was surprised since I don't usually have that kind of ear wax visible when I clean my ears.

My husband, who is more the skeptic of everything, didn't mind the process and was entertained. Heck, we even took pictures. But, in the end, he remains skeptical. And he has some serious ear wax issues. Interesting how even something as mundane as ear wax can be so unique individually.

His Results: Same powdery matter and a few globs of a different colored gold-orange ear wax.

Now, because I'd read on skeptic sites that 'control studies' found the same contents in the ear candles when not placed in an ear, I took one of ours and also burned it in an empty glass cup. Despite the negative claims, my 'control candle' came out with the same powdery substance and no 'wax' lumps at all. Perhaps my ear candles were of better quality?! Huh.

So, the whole experience left me more of a believer than skeptic. But I'm a believer that the body can and will heal itself when one is so inclined to focus their intentions properly. Otherwise known as the placebo effect in Science lingo. And perhaps ear candling is a mix of that too.

So, have you ear candled? If so, what are you're thoughts on it? And if not, would you?

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