Go stick a candle in your ear

I read an article today about ear candling, and how it is ineffective and dangerous. I have three words on this subject: No. Shit. Sherlock.

I first heard about ear candling about 10 years ago. Whoever was telling me about it had to tell me a couple of times before I would believe that people actually did this. The idea is that you take a hollow candle and stick one end in your ear, and light the other end. The flame creates a very mild vacuum, which draws wax and other “impurities” out of your ear. This is another one of those things that should be obvious hogwash to anyone with an IQ over 7, but apparently is not.

My friend Jeff (also a skeptic) once did an experiment to see just how much suction is created by burning a hollow candle (note that it wasn’t just any hollow candle, it was a candle made for ear candling). He lit the candle, then lit a match, blew the match out, and held the match below the bottom of the candle, which was held at the same angle as when doing ear candling. The wisps of smoke coming from the match drifted right by the end of the candle, completely unaffected. There was absolutely no vacuum sucking the smoke into the candle. If the vacuum created is so small that smoke is not affected, how is it going to pull wax out of your ear?

And another thing – ear wax is there for a reason. Unless you have a medical condition where you have too much of it, why pull it out?


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