Sunday, January 07, 2007

Writer Tries Beeswax ‘Ear Candling’

Candle with Care
By Chris Bohjalian, Burlington Free Press (USA), 1/7/2006

I am not sure whether this says more about me or about the people with whom I associate, but suddenly I am surrounded by ear candlers. In November, the fiancee of novelist Steve Berry told me that Steve enjoyed having his ears candled. He said this was true, (though, in all fairness, he said it sheepishly). In December, a reader introduced herself to me in Middlebury and asked me if I ever had my ears candled. And then for Christmas, my in-laws gave me a pack of Wally's Herbal Beeswax Ear Candles

An ear candle, for those of you who lead normal lives, is a hollow, ivory-colored candle that tapers at one end to a blunt point. You place the small end in your ear and then light the wide end. As the candle burns down, it -- and here I am quoting from the directions -- "helps soften old, hardened earwax and assists the body to excrete excess earwax." The lighted end is far enough from the ear that even if you are a middle-aged man with bear fur in your ears -- whole hair topiaries emerging like button mushrooms in the spring -- it's unlikely you will set your head on fire, (though, I have to assume, that, too, would soften old, hardened earwax).

When I looked at the ear candles, my first thought was, "This is strange." My second? A quote from astronaut Alan Shepard as he sat high atop a Redstone rocket and waited to be shot into space in 1961: "Light this candle!"…

The procedure took 10 minutes. At first it felt like I was holding a wide Q-Tip in my ear. After a moment, however, I heard what sounded like low-level static, a lulling and not unpleasant fuzz. When my wife extinguished the candle, we inspected what was inside the remains of the hollow taper…

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