Traditional Treatment Called Ear Candling Gains Popularity Despite Warnings
By Charity Brown, The Washington Post, 8/2/2010
Brenda Thompson gets a treatment called ear candling from Schyla Poyndexter-Moore at the Secrets of Nature restaurant and health-food store in the District.
A hollow candle, or a piece of fabric soaked in beeswax or paraffin, is placed in the ear canal with a paper plate resting on the head to prevent burns from the wax. Then, the candle or fabric is lit. According to its supporters, the practice is a remedy for removing earwax and cures ailments such as ear infections, sinusitis, migraines, postnasal drip and cancer, and improves general health.
The origin of this technique is unknown, but some say it can be traced to the era before Christ, to ancient Egypt and/or India. Within the past decade, its popularity has increased. Beauty salons and spas offer candling, also known as ear coning and thermal auricular therapy, and kits are available at health-food stores and flea markets.
Medical research, however, holds that the practice is both ineffective and dangerous. It showed up in February on the Food and Drug Administration's equivalent of the FBI's most-wanted list…