You Are NOT Oxygen Deprived

This is a claim I have only recently begun to encounter, but it is a dangerous one – to your wallet, if nothing else. If you happen to be suffering from one of the wide range of conditions this ‘treatment’ claims to cure, the damage could be far worse.

The Half-Truth

The people offering this ‘cure’ all point to the work of a German scientist, Doctor Otto Warburg, who published a paper in the Journal of Cancer Research in 1925. This paper was called “The Metabolism of Carcinoma Cells”, and it basically outlines the fact that cancer prevents healthy cells from receiving enough oxygen. He went on to suggest that a possible treatment would be offering time in oxygen-enriched chambers may be an effective cure, but I have been unable to find any papers suggesting this was successfully tried.

The Lie

The sites which support these ‘treatments’ say that:

* Tap water is very low in oxygen because its journey through lead pipes and the addition of chlorine and other chemical contaminants prevent it from being aerated.
* Cooking or heating food reduces the oxygen content in vegetables and fruits, and also kills the enzyme content.
* Processed foods have little to zero oxygen content.
* Air conditioning in cars, homes and offices during the summer, and then heating in winter, depletes oxygen and circulates germs

While those claims may well be the truth, none of the food, drink, and supplements they offer will have any effect on your body’s oxygen levels – unless they are selling oxygen tanks and nebulizers, and even then you should discuss that sort of treatment seriously with your doctor before embarking on it. Pure oxygen is a dangerous chemical, and using it without professional guidance can have serious, damaging effects on the body.

The Truth

On some of these sites, things which will make you feel a great deal better are mentioned, usually as an afterthought to the shiny products. These include exercise, meditation, and a healthy, less-processed diet.

Needless to say, this advice will do you a great deal more good than taking any of their products. If you truly want to increase your body’s access to oxygen, I suggest you drink more, exercise regularly, and look at natural diet options. It will be cheaper and more effective for you.

Why You Should Avoid Ear-Candles

Ear-candling involves placing a tube of cloth into your ear canal and getting a trusted friend to set the top of it alight. Exactly where this started is cited as many places, but most commonly it is referred to as Hopi Ear Candling, a fact which the Hopi tribe of Native Americans dispute strongly.

Wherever they originated, the claim is that the process creates a low-level suction force which draws wax and other debris out of the ear canal. Some people claim that this process claim that impurities are also drawn from the sinuses or even the brain itself, although exactly how this works is vauge at best.


Most ear candles are relatively cheap, ranging between £5 to £10 in the UK. They can be made of either linen or cotton, which is usually left unbleached because practitioners of ear-candling claim that chlorine is bad for the ears. These cloth tubes are soaked in wax or paraffin and allowed to harden – although some manufacturers only use pure beeswax because they claim that paraffin is a carcinogenic. Some waxes contain herbs or other substances, included sage, chamomile, rose, rosemary, burdock, and many others.


Most instruction direct the person undergoing the procedure to lie on their side. A collecting plate is placed above the ear, and the candle is inserted through a hole in the plate and into the ear canal. The candle is lit, and usually trimmed as the wick burns down. Some practitioners use a toothpick to maintain a hole in the top of the hollow candle so that it maintains its ‘chimney-like’ appearance. Once the candle is blown out and removed, a cotton swab is used to gently remove visible earwax from the ear.

Why This Does Not Work

Since earwax is naturally sticky, the negative pressure needed to pull wax from the canal would have to be so powerful that it would rupture the eardrum in the process. Ear-candling has been tested, and it does not produce any form of suction whatsoever. Researchers who measured the pressure during candling have found that no negative pressure is created.

The notion that the ear canal is in any way connected to structures beyond the eardrum is also false. Anyone with a basic knowledge of anatomy – or access to a local library – should be able to realise this very quickly. The external ear canal, with an intact eardrum, is not connected to the brain or the sinuses.


Candling poses several very real dangers. The most serious of which are caused by the hot wax or paraffin from the candle dripping into the ear. There have been cases where this has actually punctured the eardrum, requiring surgery in order to reverse the damage. Even when this does not puncture the eardrum, the added wax can cause ear canal blockages which require minor surgery in order to remove.

There have also been cases where people have been burned or fires have been started by the use of ear candles.

Given that adding things to the ear can bring with it the chance of infection, and ear candles go reasonably deeply into the ear canal, they also bring with them a serious risk of secondary ear canal infections of various kinds.

In short, ear candling is a dangerous and useless procedure, and places those who use it at significant risk without offering any documented benefits whatsoever.