I spent a few weeks with a clogged right ear. It was the aftermath of being tremendously sick with an awful head cold while on vacation and flying into Philadelphia International Airport, where the planes seem to enter the outer reaches of the atmosphere while circling for a place to land. The pain that clogged my ear was nearly unbearable, a dull throbbing turned into sharp shooting pain behind my ear.

The weeks that followed, I was at a definite disadvantage. My balance was thrown off, my ability to understand what was being said to me was pretty much ruined, and the constant clogging and momentary unclogging culminated into one of the most unpleasant illness side effects I have yet to experience in my 30+ years on this planet.

I decided to try an option to relieve my discomfort, and sought out the ear candling services offered by my hair salon before my haircut. The salon owner was able to accommodate me, thankfully, and took me back into the spa area. I had never had my ears candled before, but was willing to try anything at this point.

She had me lay on my side on a massage table and placed a long tapered candle with a hollow center against my eardrum. My head was shielded by a cut out paper plate, so that no wax would get in my hair or on my clothing. While the candle burned, the gave me a quick head and neck massage, which helped distract me from the weirdness of what was going.

After a few minutes, she had to relight the candle, the blockage was so thick that the candle literally ran out of oxygen. Once we were finished, she let me see what the candle had drawn out. Of course, it was full of wax, but also some white fluffy material, which she said was probably dead skin cells. While the ear didn’t get 100% better, it gave me some relief and I did feel a lot better. I’m excited to go back again and have it done again and would totally recommend it to anyone who’s thinking about it themselves.