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   Undertoad  Tuesday Sep 24 02:28 PM

9/24/2002: Ear candling

In the process of "candling", a hollow candle is put in someone's ear and lit. Which is supposed to create a vacuum to draw out excess wax and "toxins". It's also supposed to clear out your sinuses. And the wax and "toxins" are supposed to be burned by the flame, once drawn out.

Except that it's just a bunch of nonsense. There's no way that anything, especially ear wax, can be drawn out of the ear by creating a negative pressure. If the process in fact succeeds in any measure, it is more likely to rupture the ear drum.

The sinuses are connected via the inner ear and you regulate pressure there all the time. If a negative pressure drained anything out of the ear, we'd all have draining ears on airplane flights. Eww.

dave  Tuesday Sep 24 03:05 PM

I have a friend that uses these, and he tells me that a) the stuff <b>doesn't</b> get burned up by the flame and b) you wouldn't BELIEVE the shit that ends up inside these candles after you use 'em (they don't burn down all the way - just to the plate). So anyway, he never mentioned "toxins" or clearing sinuses - just that it was good for cleaning his ears.

YMMV, of course.

Undertoad  Tuesday Sep 24 03:34 PM

More recently, two investigators tested candles ... they demonstrated that all residue originated from the candle and that no ear wax was removed from the ear [2].

dave  Tuesday Sep 24 04:33 PM

Hehe. I forwarded that to him. Wonder what he says.

Undertoad  Tuesday Sep 24 05:43 PM

"Say, Dave, thanks for saving me a lot of money and time."

dave  Tuesday Sep 24 05:51 PM

Well, he was <b>raving</b> about it before. So I'm thinking he might be disinclined to believe that site.

All I had to go on was his word, and the only believable bit of it (I was skeptical at first) was that there was a lot of residue extracted... well, that site explains <b>that</b>. But he had been talking about how he hears better afterward and whatnot - so, that's why I'm guessing he'll be in denial.

juju  Tuesday Sep 24 10:17 PM

God damn people are stupid. This is why religion is so widespread.

jaguar  Tuesday Sep 24 10:25 PM

Was reading earlier, kinda makes this look a tad begine

Tobiasly  Tuesday Sep 24 11:03 PM

Hey Dave, I can see where this technique could be extended for use in other orifices, for those who like to "get rid of anything that shouldn't be there".

Nic Name  Tuesday Sep 24 11:55 PM

Novelty penis candle reaches 16,000 in online auction -- google

russotto  Wednesday Sep 25 04:55 PM

Whatever happened to just violating the Q-tip labeling? Feels good and you know that yellow stuff that comes out ain't from the cotton.

Slight  Wednesday Sep 25 05:43 PM

One of my family members bought some of these once. I think they tried one one me. I was very skeptical that that much shit came out of my ear so I asked If I could burn one with out it being in my ear. They let me do it and I remember correctly that was the last ear candle ever burnt in our house. One word for ya:


InkEye  Thursday Sep 26 02:01 AM

Skeptic? So am I... BUT...

Let me tell ya... I'm a pretty big skeptic of most things, but I have an aunt who really uses these ear candles as her son has had frequent ear problems in the past (infections).

It looks silly, it doesn't seem possible, and you think it must be the wax from the candle.

But don't knock it until you've tried it. The experience is really different. The first time you do it, the candle removes SO much crap from your ears, most of it an ear-wax colored powder, with some longer strips of gooie wax. I mean a ton of it comes out.

So you think, well it can't be ear wax. Do another candle, same ear, you get significantly less crud. Oh, and all the while you can hear the "thoop" sound, and feel the junk just oozing up and out; it almost itches as it moves. You can even feel the heat of the air coming down your ear though the flame of the candle is a good foot or two away from your head.

I could give you a hundred stories about it, but the most convincing was with my own mom, as she is notoriously hard of hearing. After a couple of ear candles in ONE ear... my aunt said she had never seen so much crap come out of anyone's ear.

I really don't know what to think now. Why it'd be a scam I don't know since my aunt doesn't charge a penny for doing this. And it's hard to say it's not ear wax because the candle wax is usually either a purple or blue color and generally doesn't run when burnt, but the ear wax is almost always the same shade of yellow-orange.

InkEye  Thursday Sep 26 02:14 AM

Oh, I forgot to mention... I theorize that the reason why your ear just doesn't ooze wax on an airplane but the candle draws the wax is because the melting point for ear wax is really quite low. Low enough that heated air will liquify it, but not a warm sunny day. An airplane cabin doesn't have heated air, so that's why it doesn't just ooz on out.

It may be that the cone-shape of the candle creates a vortex of air that blasts through the center, enters the ear, melts the ear wax, pushes the wax back up through the outside along the inner wall of the candle, where it solidifies when the fire of the candle is extinguished.

Or, it may be that the candle burning at the top consumes air from the bottom, drawing air up through the candle and out the top, but this doesn't explain the heat sensation you experience.

Don't know for sure, but that's my theory about how it works. I may have it wrong, don't know. All I can tell is what I've seen.

juju  Thursday Sep 26 03:08 AM

Dude, you're scaring me. Didn't anyone ever tell you never to put anything in your ear?? You're likely to give yourself permanant ear damage.

plool  Thursday Sep 26 03:34 AM

Nasal Spout

This reminds me of a supposed cure for nasal congestion. It is a Yoga technique called "Jal Neti"

InkEye  Thursday Sep 26 06:07 AM

To be fair...

After thinking alot about this, I conferred with friend of mine and we discussed the topic at length, and looked at several links - one mentioned in this thread he found exactly. I commented to him that there was insufficient evidence in that particular article... but being the skeptic that I am, we searched for more.

We should have thought to hit the James Randi site (duh!). After a few links, here's what we dug up:

Some neat experiments to try. I'll try them with my aunt. Basically you hold the candle in a jar of water and should get the same kinda wax. JR says the wax is from the bees-wax turning that color. Should be interesting.

NateXLH1000  Thursday Sep 26 05:05 PM

Fun with bodily orifices

I find that if you want a thorough cleaning of your ear, use hydrogen peroxide (from CVS, NOT industrial strength!)
It will feel very strange as it fizzes but it only attacks the wax. Use a Qtip to clean out the residue.

if you want to "clear your mind of impurities", I would sugest a concentrated solution of NaOH: Alow to "work" until the solution makes its way out to the other ear.

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