Some people can’t resist the opportunity to extract stuff from their bodies. These are the people who are drawn to ear candling.
Sometimes called coning, the practice involves sticking a hollow tube covered in wax into your ear—not deep!—and lighting it. In 10 or 15 minutes, the candle will burn out, leaving the tube full of, you guessed it, lots of goo from your ear.
The benefits of candling are said to include relief from headaches and sinus pressure, as well as improved hearing. Susan Nguyen, who owns Body FX, a weight loss spa near the Galleria, said she started offering the service recently because clients were requesting it. “I’ve candled for a while myself,” she says. “Seems like the older I get, the more I can’t hear. It helps me hear better.”
Nguyen says she’s a spiritual person, so the positive effects of candling don’t stop at mitigating wax buildup. “It helps connect body, mind and soul, and when your physical body, mind and soul are well, you feel 100 percent complete. Ear candling purifies, opens up spiritual centers, and releases blockages there,” she says. “Sometimes, people can feel their repressed emotions open up.”
Candling, we should note, is not accepted by the medical community at large. In 2007, a Canadian medical journal published a case study of a 50-year-old woman who accidentally burned herself trying to remove a candle, spilling wax deep into her ear and permanently damaging her hearing. And according to the Mayo Clinic website, “ear candling is ineffective at removing earwax and is also not an effective treatment for any other conditions.”
One thing the Mayo Clinic can’t argue against, though, is the satisfaction of pulling stuff from your ears. “Clients are always like, ‘Lemme see it!’ They’re really excited about it. So am I! It’s cool to look at what was inside of you,” Nguyen says. “Some ears have a lot. I did it with a friend of mine, and mine was okay, but when his came out it was like, ‘Whoa. What’s wrong with you?!’”
- At Healthy Living by Dr. Sylvia Soliz, candling is just one of many services offered as part of a total-body experience, all done with the goal of emotional wellness—like therapy, Soliz says, but with less talking. 8191 SW Fwy. Ste. 101, Braeburn
- River Oaks Wellness Center offers candling, plus acupuncture, massage and, for the particularly adventurous, colonics. 2202 W. Alabama St., Ste. C, River Oaks/Upper Kirby
- You might seek out Acupuncture & Holistic Care for the services advertised in the name, but the clinic’s two locations also offer candling, as well as a selection of Chinese herbs. 2112 Bissonnet St. (Rice University Area) and 5201 Richmond Ave. Ste. M, Uptown