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Thermo-Auricular Therapy

by Sue Maunsell(more info)

listed in healing, originally published in issue 127 - September 2006

How it Came About

"You stick a lighted candle in my ear? You must be joking!"

This is the classic response from people when receiving information about Thermo-Auricular® Therapy.

However, once they have stopped laughing, been informed that it is not a 'new' therapy and experienced the treatment, they soon discover the benefits of this amazing therapy.

A Hopi Ear Candle in use

Ear Candles arrived in the United Kingdom around 1980, around the same time I had, after months of 'not being very well' to 'being very ill', all within the space of an hour at times, having just been diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME). I was relieved that a diagnosis had finally been made, but also desperate for any help to 'get me well'. I was offered a 'session' by a visiting friend, and accepted, despite being told "they were new and that no one quite knew what they were really for, but they were good and would help cure me". I was, at the time, also naïve about the workings of the world of therapy. Some years later, having been re-introduced to this thermo-auricular therapy, as a qualified masseuse, aromatherapist, and lecturer at a local college teaching ITEC (International Therapeutic Examination Council) certificated courses, I discovered that they still assumed no indication of acceptance as either promoting a genuine or helpful action, or being an authentic or acceptable treatment. When requesting indemnity cover from my then insurers, they regarded the 'therapy' as no more than a joke, bizarre, highly dangerous or 'confirmation that therapists were wacky people'. I was laughed at. Consequently, I was unable to use it within the treatment centre or incorporate it within my Holistic philosophy. I was also of the opinion that some form of this therapy had been used in ancient Egyptian times in the form of reeds, and continued to be, instigated by Native Americans Indians. I decided to investigate further, and unbeknownst to me, someone else with the same ideology, having also hit 'a brick wall with insurance', was treading the same path. The 'we' I refer to (Linda Stokes and myself) were destined to meet.

We met subsequent to attending a rudimentary instruction session given by the then import agent. Once more we were independently informed that the 'tuition received' held no chance of being accepted or considered valid training for insurance purposes. However, we were both offered the same proposition: "If they are as good as you say they are – prove it to us – compile a training syllabus, complete with manual to a standard that will encompass our ideals and that of the accredited 'umbrella' organizations". And that is how it all began.

The Candle and its Effects

We have absolutely no doubt as to the efficacy or the quality of the Biosun candles we use in our therapy. We know they are made from the highest quality ingredients, and have been shown to be free of all chemical pesticides and fungicidal residues. They are also classified as medical products, according to the medical device directive (93/42/EEC class 11a), and have obtained the prestigious CE mark, as independent institutes both in the UK and abroad regularly test them.

Since our first quest to verify this therapy, we have been rewarded many times with the successes achieved, from alleviating mucous associated conditions, such as simple colds, influenza, rhinitis, sinusitis, etc., to improving ear problems, including compacted wax, dulled hearing, tinnitus and balance-related conditions such as Vertigo, Labyrinthitis and Ménières Disease. This therapy has also proved successful in treating many children with 'Glue Ear', precluding the need for surgery. When administered within an appropriate period of time, we have also had great success with general motion sickness and problems associated with flying. Remarkable benefits have also been documented by people suffering headaches, migraines and other stress related maladies. From an aromatherapist's angle we appreciate this could, to a degree, be attributed to a few of the ingredients contained within the candle, all helpful in treating stress-related conditions. The 'candles' are hollow tubes of organically grown linen prepared in a traditional Indian manner, using a time-honoured formula combining the finest herbs in the form of powders, tinctures and oils with honey, allowing it to marinate and finally, after rolling, sprayed lightly with beeswax. Their many herbal ingredients include Sage (Salvia officinalis), Chamomile (Matricaria recutica) and St Johns Wort (Hypericum perforatum). The diminution of inflammation within the ear is helped by the synergistic blend of all the herbal tinctures and oils that have been fused within the honey and conserved by the beeswax.

As lecturers, practitioners and promoters of this therapy, we regularly go in for this treatment with a variety of other such therapists. Once, when receiving a treatment from a very 'spiritual therapist', Linda remarked on the amazing effect the 'candles' seem to have on various clients; how they 'drift off' as if into 'another planet,' and how difficult it is sometimes to get them to leave the couch – frequently having this incredible quality about them, one of tremendous calmness, with eyes extremely bright and feet hardly touching the ground, often not quite with us. In response, the therapist explained to Linda that she believes the treatment has a profound effect on the Chakras; it not only balances the chakras but also opens the third eye and the crown chakra, allowing the client to receive universal energy.

Subsequently, Linda and the therapist carried out an experiment where they dowsed the chakras prior to, and following, a treatment. The results were remarkable; when the chakras were particularly out of balance prior to receiving the treatment, the pendulum showed a weak, confused directional swing, however, when dowsed following treatment the pendulum swing was all in the same direction, increasing in power and circumference as it travelled from the base chakra up to the crown.

The Result of Experiments

This experiment confirmed how powerful this therapy really is, working on a multiplicity of energies, at this juncture a spiritual level, thereby corroborating its use for clearing negative energies and enabling individuals to embark on their spiritual journey.

Through the years, we have learnt many valuable lessons, seen our work plagiarized, our training name traded upon, met cynics, been contacted by the unconvinced, heckled by sceptics, encountered people questioning how they work, either in a dismissive or extremely rude manner. Conversely, we have also encountered many wonderful, approving, supportive people, including those wishing to set up experiments to see if they can 'shed a light on a scientific reason as to how they work.

One such 'independent' test, conducted for us, involved a manometer (to measure fine changes in pressure and vacuum), and a Thermocouple (a very sensitive electronic temperature sensor), together with a digital thermometer.

The experiment was set up using these devices along with a Biosun candle and some sticky-tack. To ensure a seal, the ends of the tube and thermocouple were moulded and formed into a tapered plug. Then on having inserted the sensors into the candle, the plug was moulded tightly to achieve the best possible seal, and held in the hand to simulate body heat and the increase in temperature noted prior to lighting the candle. This stabilized at 35ºC, and the candle was lit. Whilst maintaining the grasp to simulate body heat, the temperature and any change in pressure was logged every minute during the total burn time of 13 minutes.

Throughout the burning time the temperature experienced on the back of the therapist's hand, that was holding the candle, became quite intense, while the temperature inside the base of the candle did not exceed 37ºC, only slightly above normal body temperature.

The experiment was repeated using the candle in the correct manner. The thermocouple was attached as far down, and as close to the ear as possible, and by piercing a small hole midway between the filter and the red line. The cables were attached using a silicone sealant. Again the ambient temperature was taken and the temperature of the candle was allowed to stabilize prior to being lit. The stabilized temperature was 36.10ºC. The utmost temperature inside the candle was recorded at 36.60ºC, even during the final stages of the process.

The findings of the second experiment totally endorsed the first, even though the sensation of fairly intense heat was again experienced by the therapist holding the candle in place, no comment a propos this was made by the client.

These results at first appeared to be disappointing, conflicting and perplexing to what had been the foundation of, not only our comprehension of the therapy, but that on which we had, with dedication and enthusiasm, worked mutually over many hours, consulting with diverse but allied professionals to accomplish our mission of developing a manual to accompany a formal training module – a unique event, which would serve to promote, validate and demonstrate to insurance bodies that this could be a legitimate therapy, and if therapists received approved training – a safe one.

Conversely, the results were both thought-provoking:
• Is the body mass absorbing the heat faster than the air can heat it up, thus acting as a 'heat sink'?
• Does the warmth from the therapist's hands increase the circulation to the area, thus increasing absorption?
• The therapist could inhale quantities of the vapour, will this be acceptable?
• The process is synergistic so no single element is the source;
And Exciting:
• We know that heat rises, but the chamber fills with vapour covered with essential oil and herbal vapour, this, therefore, descends, bathing the ear canal in a diaphanous mist;
• The client subliminally inhales the therapeutic vapour;
• The therapist will ingest a diminutive quantity of the healing vapour during each session.

Comments we received along the way were very positive; clients loved the 'sound', the 'overwhelming warmth', the 'clear headedness, the finishing touches of the facial massage, the 'increase in hearing' and the 'total relaxation'.

In conclusion, we decided that we had a therapy, like various others, that actually works.

Further Information

Sue Maunsell and Linda Stokes conduct their own courses, and also receive applications from therapists to teach the course on their behalf, as it is approved by the manufacturers. They currently offer six, but are also promoting, demonstrating and upholding the need for accredited training. They have trained more than 6,000 therapists from around the world. Sue Maunsell may be contacted via;


  1. Hopi candles said..

    Ear candle is a efficient way to remove ear problems.Thanks for sharing!!!

  2. Attorneys Johannesburg said..

    Nice treatment.For any health related claims contact to our Attorneys Johannesburg at

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About Sue Maunsell

Sue Maunsell trained as a State Registered Nurse, followed by Specialist Dental Nursing using her qualifications to work in a reconstructive facial unit and qualified as an Oral Hygiene Tutor, a position she held for over 20 years. Due to ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) she retrained in Anatomy, Physiology & Body Massage and Aromatherapy, followed by Auricular Acupuncture. She is a lecturer at the local adult education and guest lecturer at various private colleges. She may be contacted via


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