Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Indonesians Use Beeswax ‘Ear Candles’ to Treat Hearing Impairment

Ear Candling Therapy Getting Thousands Out of Sticky Situations
By Kanis Dursin, The Jakarta Post (Indonesia), 9/5/2007

An attendant inserts the pointy end of a candle into the auditory canal of her patient's ear and immediately lights the blunt end.

And, for the next 15 minutes or so, she holds the candle steady and upright, while the patient, eager to get rid of his earache, lies motionless on the bed, listening to the crackling sound of the wick burning down.

By the end of the ritual, which lasts for up to one-and-a-half hours and takes six candles -- three for each ear -- the patient declares he is feeling much better and is looking forward to the next treatment session.

If this sounds like magic to you it is because the therapy, called ear candling or auricular candling, has worked wonders for the more than 12,000 people who have resorted to the alternative treatment for persistent hearing impairments.

"Those who come here are hopeless cases, medically speaking," said Susanna Budiman, who has been administering ear candling therapy for the last four years at her drugstore in West Jakarta.

Ear candling, known also as coning, refers to various procedures that involve placing a burning cone-like device in the ear canal in order to remove ear wax and other impurities in the ear.

At Harapan Indah drugstore, Susanna uses hollow candles made from linen soaked in pure beeswax. The candles contain, among other things, natural antibiotic sage, chamomile, rosemary and yucca root.

As the candle burns down, the smoke goes into the ear canal, causing it to warm up and loosen the wax and other impure materials. The heat and vacuum draw out the wax and other materials from the ear canal into the base of the candle.

The origin of ear candling therapy is obscure, but Ancient Tibet, China, Egypt, the pre-Columbian Americas and even the mythical city of Atlantis are cited as possible contributors…

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