Ear candling, a traditional therapy used by the Ancient Greeks, was popularised by the Hopi Indian Tribe of the American South-West. The modern incarnation of the treatment is primarily based on the form used by the Hopi (meaning "Peaceful People") Indians who possess great medicinal knowledge and spirituality. The Hopi Nation are renowned for their extensive healing skills.
The original use of ear candles was for aura and spiritual cleansing for purifying. They were used to cleanse and harmonise the different energy fields of the body. Equally they were also used in initiation rituals and healing ceremonies. The importance and use of ear candles is illustrated in numerous ancient wall paintings including those found within the caves of the Grand Canyon.
Quite different from conventional wax candles, a Hopi Ear Candle is actually a cotton tube, impregnated with beeswax, honey and therapeutic oils, that is painlessly inserted into the ear to draw out impurities and relieve pressure in the head and sinuses.
How it works
Fully dressed the client lies down on their side, with their head supported on a pillow so the auditory canal is vertical.
The process involves placing a specially designed hollow candle just inside the ear canal, as far as is comfortable into the ear canal. Now known as Hopi Ear Candles, the hand-made structures are hollow tubes which contain honey, sage, St Johns Wort and camomile.
- Chamomile – anti-inflammatory and gentle anti-spasmodic sedative
- Sage - stimulates the lymph, increases circulation
- St. John’s Wort - restorative tonic for the nervous system
The candle is then lit and the resulting gentle suction and vacuum draws the wax and impurities from the ear and produces a light suction action. This vacuum is caused by the warmed air from the flame and colder air moving through its hollow centre. The movement and compression between the ear canal and the candle chamber generate air flow acting like a chimney. The burning action infuses the herbs and essential oils into a vapour, which is drawn into the auditory canal. This performs a massaging function as well as softening any impurities.
A fire crackling sound may be heard and possibly some gentle popping. The rising air gently massages the ear drum and helps to regulate ear pressure. A small amount of ear wax is also removed during the treatment.
According to practitioners, the candles work like a chimney, drawing impurities out. Most are burned away, although some may be found in the candle wax residue or may appear on a cotton bud 24 to 48 hours after treatment. The column of warm air rising in the candle is said to massage the ear drum while pressure in the sinus cavities and ears is equalised. Most deposits evaporate and are carried away through the candle ‘chimney’. None of the candle residue actually goes into the ear.
Most of these are carried away through the candle chimney, although some of them can be found in the condensed candle residue after removal from the ear - or can even work their way up to the surface 24 to 48 hours later.
Who it benefits
Hopi Ear Candles can benefit conditions affecting the head and ears such as sinus congestion, ear noises and excessive earwax.
The rising air through the column of the candle and gentle natural movement of the flame serve to gently massage the ear drum. This has an immediate subjective effect of regulating ear pressure. Users often describe a soothing, light sensation in the ear/head area and a general calming, relaxing effect.
It is often used by people with:
- Glue ear
- Hayfever and rhinitis
- Excessive ear wax
- Tension headaches
Many people report an enhanced sense of smell and hearing which might take a few minutes to adjust to.
Hopi ear candles should not be used if there is any inflammation or infection in the ear and are not suitable for people who have had recent ear surgery or those with ear grommets or tubes, perforated ear drums or allergies to any of the products in the candle.