Back in the late 1990s, someone babbled at me about ear candling for a great many minutes. They waxed poetic over the health benefits of stuffing a candle in your ear and lighting it up. I can’t remember why. All I can remember is staring at them with my jaw hanging open and thinking, “Are you nuts?”
Needless to say, though I wasn’t a Certified Skeptic back then, and hadn’t even heard of science-based medicine, I gave ear candling a pass. It sounded like the height of folly.
Over a decade later, the FDA’s caught on. I ended up on their MedWatch page page after reading a post at Terra Sigillata about yet more prescription drugs being sneaked into yet more supplements. (Yes, manufacturers do this so that their “wholesome and natural” products will actually work.) Just for S&G, I decided to see what other nefarious nonsense the altmed world’s been up to, and I came across an alert entitled “Ear Candles: Serious Risk of Injuries.” I laughed and laughed and howled, “Well, no shit, Sherlock!”
The first paragraph is morbidly hilarious:
FDA is notifying consumers and healthcare providers of its warning not to use ear candles - a hollow cone about 10 inches long made from a fabric tube soaked in beeswax, paraffin or a mixture of the two - because they can cause serious injuries, even when used according to the manufacturer’s directions. According to advertised claims, a burning ear candle draws ear wax and “impurities” or “toxins” out of the ear canal. Other claims for ear candles include relief from sinus and ear infections, headache and earache, as well as improved hearing, “blood purification,” improvements in brain function, and cure cancer. FDA has found no valid scientific evidence to support the safety or effectiveness of these devices for any medical claims or benefits. FDA has received reports of burns, perforated eardrums and blockage of the ear canal which required outpatient surgery from the use of ear candles.
Anyone stupid enough to believe that sticking a candle in their ear and lighting it will cure them of cancer almost deserves a little blockage of the ear canal as an object lesson, except I can mostly forgive them – they’re desperate and scared and willing to try anything to survive. The real stupidity comes from the dumbshits purveying this as a cure. They’re either moronic or greedy or both.
And don’t even get me started on the parents taking their kids in for this treatment. Really, don’t. Let’s just say I have definite opinions regarding their fitness as parents, and those opinions aren’t flattering.
While we’re on the subject of “miracle” cures, there’s another great one at Terra Sigillata that’s really not to be missed:
FDA Warns Consumers of Serious Harm from Drinking Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS)
Product contains industrial strength bleachThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers not to take Miracle Mineral Solution, an oral liquid also known as “Miracle Mineral Supplement” or “MMS.” The product, when used as directed, produces an industrial bleach that can cause serious harm to health.
The next time some fluffy-bunny altmed worshiper asks me “what’s the harm?”, I shall be more than happy to inform them.
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