Recently a long-time student asked if I knew of any remedies for excessive ear wax. She wanted to avoid having to go to the doctor to have it removed. Certainly, warmth is the first thing that comes to mind.
While one wants to be sure that the eardrum is not perforated and also guard against inserting sharp objects (some experts say anything smaller than an elbow – ha!ha! – a picture of an elbow in an ear comes to mind!) into the ear, ayurveda (sister science to yoga) advises that
- poultices of garlic and salt held over the ear,
- warmed pure olive or pure unroasted sesame oil
can help to soften the wax and also to heal any infection that might be present.
I’ve also heard that placing a geranium leaf over the ear can help to soothe an earache. Whether this would be the true geranium or the pelargonium, I am unsure. LIkely the cranesbill, or true geranium is what is intended.
Eating properly, drinking plenty of fluids and taking lots of rest are helpful.
How about some self-study (svadhya),a mudra, some sound therapy, imagery (bhavana) and an affirmation (sankalpa)? Gertrud Hirschi’s book, Mudra: Yoga In Your Hands, outlines an interesting approach that combines all of these non-asana yoga practices.
Swiss Hirschi, who is informed a great deal by Acharya Keshav Dev, asserts that hearing problems are experienced by people who either aren’t able to hear or who don’t want to hear, either as a blessing or a curse. Hearing impairment can be a potent form of protection, physiological and psychological, but it also prevents hearing beautiful things. And sometimes it is due to a misguided form of stubbornness that has no good purpose. Svadhaya, or self study, can enrich our lives if we scrutinize the reasons behind our inability to hear. Making amends for old offenses or forgiving another person can be transformative.
In addition to self-study, Hirschi suggests using Shunya (Heaven) Mudra for problems with ears and hearing. This can be performed on an as-needed basis, or three times a day for 15 minutes. With both hands, bend the middle finger until it contacts the heel of the thumb and lightly press down on the middle finger with the thumb, extending the other fingers. Hold only enough to stay alert without undue tension. Feel the sensations in your hands and elsewhere.
Either at the same time or separately, attentively listen to gentle, flowing and relaxing music (music therapy). Notice as thoughts and inner images arise, and let go of unpleasant phenomena (bhavana). Imagine pleasant things and affirm, “I recognize the goodness of the universe in the heavenly sound.” (sankalpa).
Integration in the nervous system and through the faculties of learning occurs when many tools are employed at the same time. Give it a try, and let me know how it works for you.