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, relieve pressure in the head and sinuses, and aid hearing problems.
The candles are made from natural ingredients that include sage, St John’s wort, camomile and beta-carotene. Otherwise known as thermo-auricular therapy, the original source of the technique seems to be from medical ceremonies performed by a native American Indian tribe called the Hopis (meaning ‘peaceful people’).
Clients are usually advised to remove makeup and jewellery before the treatment starts. Fully dressed the client lies down on their side, with their head supported on a pillow so the auditory canal is vertical. The candle is then lit and the non-burning end is placed gently into the outer ear passage and is turned lightly to seal it in place.
The candle then generates a pleasant crackling sound and a warm, comfortable feeling while it draws out the impurities from the ear. After around 10 minutes the process is repeated on the other ear. This is followed by a period of relaxation, and sometimes a facial massage concentrating on the sinus areas.
When lit, the ear candle generates a gentle heat which, when combined with the therapeutic oils, produces a light suction action. This is known as the chimney principle, and works by drawing impurities gently to the surface, where they can be removed.
Most deposits evaporate and are carried away through the candle ‘chimney’, but some are found in the condensed candle wax residue after it is removed from the ear. None of the candle residue actually goes into the ear.
Users of Hopi ear candles have reported success in treating balance and inner ear problems, build up of wax, ringing in the ears, tinnitus, hearing difficulties and sinus problems as well as colds, ‘flu, sore throats, stress, headaches and migraines. The treatment is suitable for children and is a good alternative for people who have found syringing uncomfortable.
Many clients find the treatment relaxing. As well as the relieved feeling that comes from reduced pressure in the ears and sinuses, clients may experience a general calming effect.
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.
Anyone who is receiving medical treatment for any ear condition should always consult their doctor first. Some clients may experience headaches or light popping in the ears after treatment.
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