It’s not until I am lying on my right side, a long flaming candle sticking out of my ear, wincing from a sharp, needle-like pain, that I regret my spur-of-the-moment decision to try ear candling.
Stay with me. Years ago, I used to visit regularly a woman who did facial reflexology out of her villa in Abu Dhabi. I remember leaving those sessions floating and serene, and after she moved back home, I was never able to find anyone else in that line of work.
That’s why I got so excited to learn that a woman at my local wellness center was doing facial massage. So excited, I should add, that I skipped over the part in the flyer that mentioned that ear candling would also be part of the session. The upshot is that I immediately booked, and later, reminded of the candling, thought it would be interesting to try and a small hurdle on a path to that peaceful bliss I so fondly remembered.
If the ear candler was anyone but Bodytree Studio’s visiting healing therapist, Jacquelene Sadek, I would have aborted the session. Sadek comes over from Australia several times a year to hold yoga training sessions, and give workshops, sought-after massages and reiki treatments. I’ve gotten to know her a little over the years and trust her completely, so I fight my panic and breathe deeply through some eight out of 10-level pain.
Sadek claims that the wax that gets trapped in people’s ears can cause a variety of issues, including congestion, sore throats, allergies, hayfever, stress, colds, headaches, tinnitus and rhinitis. Ear candling has been used by the ancient Greeks, as well as by Hopi Indians,who traditionally employed it to cleanse the auric and balance the spiritual energy fields.
We start with me lying on my right side, a pillow between my knees. Sadek holds the hollow candle, made from beeswax and St John’s Wort, sage and chamomile, and chats calmly while I wonder if my head would ever be the same again.
“Will this help my hearing?” I ask, suddenly remembering that for the better part of the past year I’ve been missing bits of television shows and conversation, figuring that my hearing was beginning to match my age-related compromised eyesight.
“Sure,” she says.
It takes 15 painful minutes to treat each ear, and at the end, grossly, I was able to see just how effective the process is.
“Oh that’s heaps,” Sadek exclaims as she dumps the candle out into a bowl. “No wonder you haven’t been able to hear.”
When I look, I see several disgusting white lumps, each the size of the eraser on the end of a pencil. My hearing restored, the slight headache I came with gone, and, with new sense of lightness that’s hard to describe, I thoroughly enjoy the facial massage. Sadek includes it to stimulate the facial meridians, or channels, that correspond to the digestive system and other major organs.
To be sure, there is the typical mainstream medicine versus alternative, integrative, complementary approach push-pull debate on ear candling, both online and in the real world, with each side arguing that its treatments are safer and more effective.
Doctors also regularly remove ear wax, by the way, using a saline solution, and there are people who swear by those sessions and badly need them to deal with buildup. All I know is that a candle gently placed into my ear, using only heat, efficiently draws up and out the wax buildup I didn’t even know I had. Painful yes, but nothing invasive.
I’m no doctor, but I do know I experience the physical benefits and see the wax with my own eyes. My aura and energetic field, I can report, feel roughly the same.
If you do decide to try ear candling, know that it will likely be temporarily painful. Make sure to do your research and go to someone who knows what they are doing, is properly trained and has been practicing for years.
• This article was first published in June 2018.
Ann Marie McQueen
Ann Marie McQueen is the founding editor-in-chief of Livehealthy and host of The Livehealthy Podcast. She is a veteran Canadian digital journalist who has worked in North America and the Middle East. Her past roles include features editor for The National, trends writer and columnist for the Canadian newspaper chain Sun Media, and correspondent for CBC Radio.