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Forums > Social Chat > How do ear candles work? Or do they?

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Location: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Member Since: 11th Jan 2002
Total posts: 2996
Posted:Okay, question for the medical and physics buffs out there:

I recently bought some ear candles from a store in Glebe (for the uninitiated these are hollow tubes of wax that you light whilst stuck in your ear, that supposedly draw any wax buildup out of your ear). I haven't tried them yet, and am totally curious.

Is the idea of it sound? Is it a load of bollocks? Is it possible in physics terms? And in medical terms (Mike ) ?

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HoP Mechanical Engineer
Location: OK, USA
Member Since: 11th Jul 2002
Total posts: 729
Posted:I just stick to Q-tips and good old-fashioned elbow grease, none of these newfangled inventions

As I recall, at some point I read that removing the wax from your ears is actually harmful to your health because the ears need a coating of wax to function properly. Stuff on the outside (the stuff you want to remove because it's visually unappealing) is safe to get rid of, but doign too much to the inner ear can lead to injury or damage later on down the line.

Does Mr Ginny have anything to say on this one?

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Now with extra strawberries
Location: Canberra
Member Since: 11th Feb 2002
Total posts: 810
Posted:as far as i know the hot air rising out of the tube creats a small vacume to suck the wax out. i think thats what they say on the box.

there are only ment to be used if you have Sinus problems or are having trouble hearing.
my aunty some times uses them and she says that they work really well if youare having sinus problems.

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Miss Ruby
Location: Darwin............
Member Since: 13th Feb 2003
Total posts: 44
Posted:They do work!

I don't know the physics behind it but what Missie said sounds right.

As was also said, they should only be used if you have excessive wax blocking your ear canal.

Make sure that you soften the wax in your ear a couple of days before you use the candles. You can use 'WAXSOL' which you can buy at any chemist, or an old lady I know once told me that you can use warm olive oil (applied with an eyedropper) for a similar effect. Why OLIVE oil I don't know....

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Location: Melbourne Australia
Member Since: 20th Jul 2001
Total posts: 214
Posted:Yep they do work, as far as physics go the vacum thing sounds correct, they draw the wax out.

I don't think you need/or would want to use them more than once a month.

From memory they're american indian in origin, possibly south american.

They can 'cure' vertigo as it's somehow related to blocked ears or the middle ear.

give em a go, but have someone else holding them when they're burning so that a proper seal is kept and they don't burn down to far.

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Location: Melbourne Australia
Member Since: 20th Jul 2001
Total posts: 214
Posted:Oh and for people who like the sound of fire twirling, it's a little different, but very cool trippy sorta sound

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The Ministry of Manipulation
Location: Bristol
Member Since: 8th Nov 2001
Total posts: 2523
Posted:well that cleared that up.
Ok next question....

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Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Berlin
Member Since: 25th Sep 2002
Total posts: 2617
Posted:DSS runs away cringing. Nice topic! Yuck.

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the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA
Member Since: 15th Dec 2000
Total posts: 6193
Posted:There are several notes on this one, as this was covered in a few of the holistic care workshops I have attended.

1. The vaccuum thing is pretty much correct, though it works more like a thermal inversion (the air in the body being warm, the air in the tube being cool, the air at the top of the tube being warm from the fire, this creates an upward drawing "pressure").

2. You SHOULD NOT use these if you have sinus issues, or ear infections/issues. They can actually make the situation worse. It doesn't actually remove anything from your sinus' but more redirects the fluid to places it shouldn't be.

3. There was a scientific study done a couple years ago about these, it was shown on TV and put in magazines. They wanted to know what the percentage of ear wax was in the remaining parts of the cone versus the residue of the cone burning (which, btw the cone is light cotton/flax fabric, or heavy rice paper usually, coated in wax and rolled into a cone formation). The results were incredible. It was less than 2% body wax. Most of the wax was that which was used to make the ear cone in the first place.

4. As I have used these on other people several times, this is what I would recommend....

- they are amazing as a tool for relaxation. All you hear is this crackling effect of the fire and this little noise from the air. It is very soothing. Just don't expect to have your ears crystal clean when you are done. If you have alot of wax build-up, use one of the liquifiers on the market or swabs.

- do not use them when you are alone. You are essentially making yourself into a human candle. You need to have someone to help you guage how low the cone is burning so that you know when to stop. Stop when there is about 3-4 inches left to it.

- Find a comfy spot to lay on your side, preferably where it will be dark. It is hard to move once you have it started. It is very relaxing also to see the flicker of the flame reflected around.

- Use an aluminum pie tin to help catch the falling ashe so it doesn't fall on your face. Just cut a hole in the middle of it large enough for tip of the cone to fit through and go from there. Our workshop instructor learned this the hard way as she had a faceful of soot and some in her eye, after her first treatment.

Anyway..good luck using them. I hope this helps in some way!

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Location: St. Paul, MN USA
Member Since: 20th Dec 2001
Total posts: 174
Posted:My freshman year of college I walked into my room to find my roomie laying on her side with a candle in her ear. Trying not to laugh, I just ignored it, sat at my desk, and began studying. After what seemed like forever, she's like, "Aren't you going to ask what I'm doing?" I wasn't but thankfully she explained why on earth anyone would do that. She had a bit of a head cold and swears by her ear candles about twice a year when she gets a little sick. She says they help "clear up her head" a little and she did express how relaxing they were. At first I was a little leary but I let her do her thing and we ended up living together for 3 years. So I guess my story is that they look freaky to newbies but according to my friend Krista, they work. Best of luck to ya!

Without further guilding the lily and with no more ado, I bid you farewell and sweet dreams...

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