Ear candling relaxes your body so it can heal itself
Desperate after a six-month failed search to cure her 18-month-old son’s ear infection, which led to his inability to keep his antibiotics down, Harmony gave up on his doctor. She recalled how upset her family was with her decision. Her next attempt was to consult with Dr. James J. Berryhill, ND, PhD, a prominent naturopath trained at the United States School of Naturopathy, who told her about ear candling. Her first response to this was a disenchanted, “Okay, great–thanks,” as she headed for the door.
Harmony, better known today as Doc Harmony, was straight out of corporate America at the time. Berryhill’s answer didn’t sound logical to her and she didn’t believe ear candling could work, but she was at the breaking point–and her son was declining quickly.
So in spite of strong protests from her family and a husband assuring her it wasn’t going to work, she recalled lamenting, “I’m sure it won’t work.” But candling was the last resort for her helpless, crying baby.
She explained, “I put on the mermaid movie, gave him a lollypop,” she paused to apologize–”I didn’t know you weren’t supposed to give them sugar at the time–and after two minutes with candling, he sat there still the whole time. I did four candles–and he was never sick again–never!” she emphasized.
Holistic Health Methods Maligned
Holistic health practices often are misconstrued and typically maligned by many in the medical profession and by others who prefer to place their faith solely with modern medicine. But after having positive personal experiences with these same practices, people who have tried them tell story after story of success (known as anecdotal evidence). Ear candling is no exception.
Ear Candling Misrepresented and Misunderstood
In fact, the practice of ear candling is fraught with misinformation and misconception, according to Harmony, who has since earned her Doctorate of Philosophy of natural health from Clayton College of Natural Health. For starters, “Everyone believes it’s an ancient technique–it’s not true.”
She points to undocumented stories, generated in the last 20 years and widely available on the Internet. For one, Harmony is writing a public response to Biosun, who claims candling is a Hopi tradition, but the Hopis have denied this falsehood in writing, requesting that it be stopped.
Another story points falsely to a picture on an Egyptian wall of a princess who is said to be using ear candling. Harmony faxed the photo to several departments of archeology in Egypt to determine the story’s validity. She says, “An elderly gentleman actually called me back to say, ‘This is only hysterical to us–unless it’s still buried, I promise you there is nothing like this in Egypt.’”
The Truth About Ear Candling
Doc Harmony, through a series of events and encouraged by Dr. Berryhill, decided to begin handcrafting ear candles in 1992. She has since traveled the world introducing Harmony Cones through more than 15 trade shows a year and has personally candled more than 10,000 people.
Regarding the origin of ear candling, Harmony says, “Different quadrants of the world started using ear candling roughly a few hundred years ago and it evolved and spread because they brought the tradition with them as they traveled and relocated.” Homemade candles have been made from materials ranging from corn husks to scrolled up cheesecloth. In Mexico, they used newspaper, which Harmony considers quite dangerous.
The truth about ear candling, said Harmony, is “candling doesn’t remove anything from your ear. Your body simply goes into a relaxed wakefulness” and this gives it the natural ability to heal itself. Candling does not relieve TMJ, clarify your blood, reduce or remove excessive wax or cure tinnitus (ringing in one’s ears), as claimed by various practitioners and proponents.
Harmony clarifies with several analogies: “If I go into the sun, everything will open up and relax. And it’s the same for focused sessions of deep breathing, or sitting in a sauna–you experience a relaxed sensation. It doesn’t mean the tool is a medical device–it means the person is in a relaxed state where they can heal.”
The number one response Harmony hears after candling people is, “I feel so open–so clear.” She explained, “What’s happening? It’s no different from receiving a good massage or experiencing a good deep breathing session.” Ear candling simply provides a way to relieve the stress and tension which interfere with our body’s natural healing process.
Clinical Studies on Ear Candling
The effectiveness of ear candling has been demonstrated by three clinical studies performed in Germany. One showed a 98 percent efficacy rate when applied for ear infections. A second study determined that ear candling works by measurably increasing the alpha performance of the brain and peripheral blood circulation resulting in less stress and increased well-being for the subject.
A third study found that acute complaints decreased or disappeared and chronic conditions became milder in intensity with ear candling for subjects hospitalized with colds and their secondary effects, headaches, earaches and stress symptoms.
The FDA and Ear Candling
This brings up the subject of recent FDA actions regarding ear candling. In February, 2010, the FDA sent 17 different letters to ear candle manufacturers requiring them to change their marketing practices. In the same action, they classified ear candles as medical devices and stated ear candles cannot be approved as a medical device.
The FDA’s (and Health Canada’s) objections relate to the improper use of ear candles which has caused serious injury in 14 instances. They are particularly opposed to unsupported claims of product benefits and to promoting ear candling for use with infants and children. The FDA has found no valid scientific evidence to support the safety or effectiveness of these devices.
Response to the FDA
Harmony Cone has an open lawsuit with the FDA claiming that the FDA is violating people’s constitutional right to choose how they want to heal. It has been Harmony’s experience that the FDA is not accepting evidence regarding this case.
Ear candle manufacturers as a group object to the medical classification of ear candles as they are not intended to provide medical benefits. Similar to acupuncture, massage and other holistic treatments, none of which are classified as medical, their purpose is to give the body the opportunity to heal itself.
As with many other products and services, misinformation spread rampantly can ruin an otherwise valuable industry. Harmony lamented, “Here’s a great little product–but the lack of proper education and poor selection of raw materials makes things challenging. So many people are giving such bad information about candling.”
Harmony Cone Improvements
Harmony explained, for example, that a manufacturer should never produce candles made with 100 percent beeswax, even if they can be called organic as a result. Beeswax has an extremely low viscosity due its high oil content. This means it drips more, making it more likely that hot wax can drip down the shaft of the candle into someone’s ear, resulting in injury.
Harmony Cone offers candles with no beeswax using the highest quality food grade wax available, and their beeswax candles are mixed with a high grade of wax that never drips. Harmony Cone’s ingredients make them the safest, cleanest burning candle on the market. The company creates the only candle in the U.S. with a burn line label and directions to ensure consumer safety.
Theirs are also the only candles with a patented safety tip designed to protect consumers as well as to perfect the action of the candle. Further, their manufacturing processes, which ensure accountability of raw materials from the point of production to the consumers’ hands, are implemented by a former FDA agent.
Harmony explains that many candles are produced in China to reduce the cost of manufacturing and then sold at discount stores. She says, “A product manufactured in this way is not going to perform the same way as one produced with quality in mind. You can spend three times as much for a good grade of wax, and it’s not an ingredient one should cut corners on.”
Having candled more than 10,000 people, many of them in very distracting, trade show environments, Harmony says she has never had an injury or drip occur. Proper use is important and must be explained on the package. “When you first light the candle,” Harmony explained, “you hold it away from the person’s ear.”
She also said, “Ear candling is not something you can do yourself. It’s too relaxing. At a trade show with 20,000 attendees, the people I candle still fall asleep on the table.” As far as holding the candle at a 45 degree angle to divert dripping wax away from the ear, Harmony explained that the angle of the candle must follow the angle of the ear canal and everyone’s ear canal is angled differently. She reiterated, “If a candle is made properly it will never drip.”
The Natural Remedy Dilemma
There is a serious dilemma between the FDA and holistic or natural remedies, and according to Harmony, ear candling represents the tip of the iceberg. When the FDA issued the ear candling letters, Harmony was sure there had to be a competing medical product on the market they were trying to protect.
Sure enough, the same day the letters were issued to ear candle manufacturers, the FDA approved post marketing plans for Prevenar 13, a pediatric vaccine Pfizer produced to prevent invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) which can cause ear infections, meningitis and pneumonia.
The following month, March of 2010, Japan temporarily suspended Prevnar (as it is known internationally) after four children who received the vaccine died a day after being immunized. All but one had received another vaccine at the same time. Three babies in the Netherlands had also died late in 2009 after receiving Prevnar, and in 2008 a baby in India died after receiving an earlier version.
There is currently extreme controversy over Prevenar and many other vaccines. Prevenar is still available in 11 countries (down from approximately 70 original countries). Today it is available in the Netherlands but not in Japan or India.
The U.S. government has a vaccine adverse event reporting system (VAERS), cosponsored by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the FDA to collect voluntary reports about adverse events experienced following a vaccination. According to www.flu-treatments.com, VAERS reported 28,317 adverse reactions to Prevenar since its approval in 2000, including 558 deaths, 555 life threatening conditions, 238 permanent disabilities, 2584 hospitalizations and 101 prolonged hospitalizations. These cases neither indicate nor rule out a causal relationship.
In contrast to these huge numbers, regarding ear candling, the FDA sites a survey published in 1996 by the medical journal Laryngoscope, which reported 13 cases of burns of the ear, seven cases of ear canal blockage due to wax and one case of a punctured eardrum. Yet they have taken action to inhibit the use of ear candles while giving free reign to continue the Prevenar vaccine.
These and many other examples call into question whether the FDA and the medical industry is motivated to construct a case against holistic, natural remedies in favor of medicine and pharmaceuticals, even when evidence shows the former to be safe, valid alternatives to promote health.
Most people prefer to have access to the facts and the valid pros and cons of a particular treatment so they can make intelligent, informed decisions on which health method to choose. Decisions that affect our health are personal, and a significant portion of the outcome of any treatment is the recipient’s confidence in the chosen method. Our government should work to protect us from instances when our lives or our health are truly in danger.
Jan Tucker, founder of White Lotus Living, Inc., writes and speaks on the subject of natural living and provides pure products, from cosmetics to household items, whose labels are free from synthetic chemicals. Visit www.whitelotusliving.com.
© 2011 White Lotus Living, Inc.