We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Ear Candling?

Michael Pollick
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGEEK is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGEEK, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Ear candling, also called auricular candling or coning in holistic circles, is a controversial homeopathic treatment said to draw out toxins trapped in the ear canals, Eustachian tubes and sinus passages. Ear candling involves placing a hollow candle, usually made from cloth and paraffin wax, into the ear of the client and lighting the other end to create a gentle vacuum, along with a certain amount of beneficial smoke and heat. As the candle burns down, a therapist trained in the art of ear candling supervises the procedure to ensure the safety of the client. Once the candle has been extinguished, the therapist and client examine the candle's conical filter for ear wax and other toxins said to be drawn out of the ear canal.

The practice of ear candling has a murky history. Proponents of the practice claim any number of ancient cultures used ear candling as a holistic cleansing exercise, but independent confirmation of these claims is difficult to obtain. The use of fire as a healing element is certainly well-documented, but the actual practice of ear candling may or may not have ancient roots. The modern day form of ear candling appears to have become popular during the New Age movement of the 1980s and 1990s. Along with colonic cleansing, ear candling sessions were seen as safe methods for ridding the body of yeasts, toxins, natural allergens and other poisons accumulated over a lifetime.

Mainstream interest in the ear candling phenomenon appears to have waned in recent years, especially after several controlled experiments demonstrated that the material collected in the bottom of ear candles was primarily residue from the candles themselves. Scientists also concluded that the fire generated during ear candling could not generate the level of vacuum necessarily to remove ear wax from the ear canal. Such a vacuum would also permanently damage the ear drum and other tissues. The heat and smoke given off by the ear candle also had no measurable effect on the contents of the test subject's ear or sinus passages. If anything, the possibility of injury from a stray ash or misplaced flame far outweighed any benefit from the ear candling procedure.

Proponents of the ear candling practice claim that other parts of the body besides the ears do benefit from the treatment. Toxins trapped inside the sinus cavities and even the brain are believed to be drawn through permeable membranes and into the ear candle's filter. Many practitioners of ear candling consider it to be a spiritual cleansing as well as a physical one. They often report feeling a sense of relief from sinus pressure and blocked Eustachian tubes.

Obtaining the materials needed for ear candling can be somewhat problematic in the United States and Canada, since both countries have prohibitions on the retail sale of the ear candles themselves. Certain health food stores and holistic healing centers, however, do stock ear candling supplies, and some practitioners have even managed to create suitable homemade candles themselves. It is important to have some training in the art of ear candling before attempting the procedure without supervision. A protective metal or paper plate is often used to protect the client's ear and scalp from stray ash or embers. The remnants of an ear candle should be doused in water before examining the contents. When in doubt, it may be best to leave the ear candling therapy to trained holistic medicine or alternative health practitioners.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Michael Pollick
By Michael Pollick
As a frequent contributor to WiseGEEK, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a wide range of topics. His curiosity drives him to study subjects in-depth, resulting in informative and engaging articles. Prior to becoming a professional writer, Michael honed his skills as an English tutor, poet, voice-over artist, and DJ.

Discussion Comments

Michael Pollick

Michael Pollick

As a frequent contributor to WiseGEEK, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a wide range...
Learn more
WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.