Newest Review: ... so I decided to opt for the cheaper two pack of Otosan candles at £7.99. Once I had opened the pack, I could clearly see the physical d... more
Lend me your ear
Cedar Health Otosan Ear Cones
Member Name: dee778
Cedar Health Otosan Ear Cones
Date: 30/10/10, updated on 30/10/10 (280 review reads)
Advantages: A relaxing experience that makes ears feel a lot clearer
Disadvantages: Flame could be a bit scarey at first
I have been an enthusiastic ear candler for some years now, using the candles on my whole family as a gentle way to remove excess wax build-up deep in the ear canal, and to eliminate annoying buzzing noises or feelings of blockage. Ear candling, also called ear coning or thermal-auricular therapy, is an alternative medicine which is an ancient and natural therapy handed down by many civilisations. It is believed that the Ancient Greeks were the first to use ear candles - the practice reaching the modern world via the native American Hopi Indians of North Arizona.
On a very simple level, the practice consists of inserting a tube of rolled waxed cloth into the outer part of the ear, forming an airtight seal with the end of the candle. The candle is then lit at the opposite end and is allowed to burn down, emitting a pleasant fragrance as it does so. The process of burning will create a vacuum in the candle and then down to the ear, which will suck out any excess wax or other debris. The warm air pulsating down into the eardrum will soften and loosen any wax inside the ear and also create a sense of wellbeing and relaxation.
~~Otosan versus Biosun ~~
Otosan are an Italian company that produce a range of alternative and natural products for the ear. Although I have used Biosun Hopi Ear candles for a long time, up until now I have never tried the rather more flamboyant Otosan ear candles which are often advertised in the windows of Chinese herbal medicine centres.
The Hopi ear candles were only available in a six pack costing £27 in my local health food shop, so I decided to opt for the cheaper two pack of Otosan candles at £7.99.
Once I had opened the pack, I could clearly see the physical difference between the two types of ear candles. Whilst the Hopi candles are long, narrow and brown in colour, the Otosan candles are much larger, cream coloured and cone-shaped. In addition the Otosan candle pack comes with a circular disc which prevent the possibility of any ash falling onto your face during use. They also have an extra safety device which is a flame-breaking silver ring around the bottom of the cone. This should automatically extinguish the flame without the user having to resort to putting the candle in a glass of water.
Another difference between the two candles is that Otosan candles contain Propolis, which is a natural substance produced and used by bees to stop the spread of germs in the hive, which gives added protection to the ear.
When the candle has burnt down to the safety ring, it should be removed and if necessary put into a glass of water to cool down. In my case, the end of the candle was glowing but not burning when it was removed from my ear. It was still very hot, and I did feel happier putting it into a glass of water to cool down.
One warning note for the Otosan candle is that the metallic safety ring gets very hot indeed, and can burn your fingers if you touch it whilst removing the candle from the ear.
One major difference that I noticed about the Otosan was that it burned down a lot quicker than the Biosun ear candle.
When the candle is in use, the cracking, hissing sound of the burning material can be heard, and this gets steadily louder as the candle burns down. I felt the gentle warm of the air from the candle, and also felt a gentle suction of air movement inside my ear.
The whole experience is very relaxing. The smell produced from the burning candle is mild and soothing and although the crackling from the flame can be initially quite worrying, it is soon got used to. The necessity of a friend to help in the process is essential here, as you cannot see the flame yourself, you do need an observer to reassure you that everything is OK.
The flame coming from the end of the candle is quite large and can be a little alarming, It is bigger than the flame produced by the Hopi Ear Candle.
When the flame is out, it is possible to unwrap the remnants of the candle and see the large amounts of wax inside. Sceptics have claimed that this brown deposit does in fact come from the candle itself, although it looks remarkably like ear wax, but I have never run a test to see if the deposit is still created without insertion into the ear.
The material that I found in the Otosan candle was very different from that found in the Biosun. The Otosan had a small hard plug of wax right at the base of the candle remnant; the unwrapped Biosun candles contain huge, strangely shaped lumps of wax which often appear in a long string. I always believe that the material has been sucked up from my ear - especially as my ears always feel clearer after use. Any ringing disappears and there is often some more wax that comes out later during the night.
The manufacturer recommends using the product every one or two months, but I do not feel the need to use the candles this often to maintain my ear health.
As with most alternative medicine, the practice divides the therapeutic community; some people maintain that the process has no effect at all but others swear that it has a beneficial effect. In October 2007, the United States Food and Drug Administration issued an alert identifying ear candles "dangerous to health when used in the dosage or manner, or with the frequency or duration, prescribed, recommended, or suggested in the labeling thereof", but this rather alarmist declaration seemed to originate merely from the risk of burns from the candle rather than damage to the ear itself. A quick search on the web will bring up hundreds of hits, with apparent evidence to support every side of the argument. The only way to reach a definite conclusion is to try it for yourself - each person's experience seems to be different, but I feel that I benefit immensely from the regular use of ear candles.
Summary: Recommended as a gentle and efficient way to remove ear wax
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