(Note: Before you read this post, know that it might be a bit more information than you'd like...)
In 1999 when I started freelance writing for the Exchange magazine, a food and wellness journal in Milwaukee, I was introduced to alternative medicine. Since then I have completely changed how I view health and wellness. My holistic practitioner quickly sold me on acupuncture after one curative treatment for tendonitis post bike wreck, I regularly have a deep tissue massage for general occupational aches and pains, I practice yoga weekly, and I use homeopathic remedies whenever necessary. So when I had a stubborn "crinkling" in my ears recently that my doctor confirmed was fluid, I was open to trying ear candling. You can look it up online and check out plenty of pictures, YouTube videos, and doubts from allopathic medical professionals, but I was game for attempting this alternative method for earwax removal. I asked my mother-in-law to candle my ear when she was visiting last night. I knew that she had the skills because I'd heard the classic story from Ben about his mom candling his dad's ear one night on the living room floor (this involves, as you see from the pic, a flame, a long candlelike waxed "tube," and some foil.) Ben was in high school and one of his friends had arrived to pick him up; he took in this odd scene from just outside the window. We can only imagine that he was thinking torture, witchcraft, or at least about dialing 911 from behind the nearest bush had there been cell phones at the time. So I knew Eileen was my girl when it came to candling my ear. The price of the ear candle was the best $2.39 I've ever spent. It took about 10 minutes while I lay still with my head on a floor pillow holding the pointed end of the candle steady in my ear canal. I could feel a bit of heat and a gentle suction. Eileen blew out the candle when it burned down to a few inches and I went into the kitchen to cut it open to see what had drained. I'll spare you the graphic results, but let's just say it was right up my alley having had a morbid curiosity all my life. (Growing up, when my mom would find moldy cheese or other food in the fridge I'd always demand to take a look at it before she threw it away.) Needless to say, I felt great today.
So while we're talking about alternative health and wellness, I'd like to share a book I'm reading--Make Your Place: Affordable and Sustainable Nesting Skills hand-drawn and handwritten by Raleigh Briggs. It teaches one "how to craft a sustainable domestic life outside of consumer consciousness." For people wanting to live more simply, it shows how to create tinctures, salves, and all-natural cleaners, and goes over gardening basics. It's a charming book and its purchase supports a fellow DIYer.