Spa

By Andrea Toochin

Burning a candle in one’s ear may not seem like your ideal spa treatment, but would clear nasal passages and restored equilibrium lure you? Early on, I realized cotton swabs were not the best tools to remove earwax. That’s when the Japanese sticks came into play. However, recently, my curiosity peaked and that’s when I headed uptown to test Elemur Day Spa 56′s ear candling expertise.

Many have disputed the efficacy of ear candling, but I can tell you honestly it works. The ritual dates back thousands of years and is said to have originated with the Egyptians. Small candles about six inches long taper at the bottom and fit into the base of the ear. An esthetician lights the candle and the heat that travels through the candle into your ear, consequently melting the wax. The air tunnel helps draw out wax and impurities after about 15 minutes.

I was apprehensive about getting the treatment because the ear canals are very sensitive. The esthetician instructed me to lie on one side, explaining that the right side is usually exposed to the window and the elements, so it’s likely have more buildup. Lying on my side, she placed a candle in my ear, using a paper plate to stabilize it. She lit the end and watched it for the next few minutes.

The first five minutes nothing happened but then I felt a strange cracking sound. After a few minutes of crackling I felt a slight pressure, which I presumed was when the vacuum action began. After 15 minutes with the candle in my ear, a conversation in Russian ensued, and the owner of the salon came back in the room to cut open the candle and show me the results.

“Wow, this is a lot. You needed to get this done months ago,” she said. The base of the candle was filled with a narrow line of wax about two inches long. She decided to use another candle on my right ear, which drew out about another inch of wax. Then they told me to sit upright for a few minutes to feel the difference. Almost immediately, I could feel an imbalance because I was much lighter on my right side.

I rolled to the other side, for which one candle was sufficient. I was amazed by her ability to predict the outcome; indeed my right ear had been worse. However, I must confess I was not surprised by the amount of wax removed. As a child, I hardly ever got ear infections but I always had colds and infections. I’ve always had allergies and this summer I spent every morning sneezing for about two minutes straight. I finally broke down and bought Claritin about four days after the candling I stopped sneezing. The best part of the treatment though, was the clarity it brought. Many claim ear candling can help improve concentration. When I returned home to my job and apartment hunt, I must say my productivity improved.

For those who develop a lot of wax, I’d recommend an ear candling session each season. However, if you don’t produce a lot of buildup and aren’t prone to allergies or nasal problems, twice a year is sufficient. But, you cannot perform this at home. This procedure must be supervised, so wherever you choose to have it done remember that the aesthetician must remain present throughout the procedure.

Ear Candling costs $29.95 per ear at Elemur Day Spa 56, a casual no-frills spa, the only one NYC to house an infrared sauna, which induces passive cardiac activity and is used as part of the Detoxifying Seaweed Body Masque treatment. Elemur is located at 940 Third Avenue between 56th and 57th Streets, 212.588.8895 www.mydayspa56.com

Originally published September 2006
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