Dinacharya. One of the major practices of Self Care is Care of the Senses. We cleanse and clear our mouth, our nose, our eyes, our skin…and our ears to keep them healthy and functioning optimally. This is part of our daily preventative care practices.
Ears are delicate. Ears are an organ of Vata, specifically the element of Ether (space). We have all that wonderful space for sound to bounce and dance and create impressions. They are delicate.
They need to be cared for.
First: Keep them WARM!!! Vata always needs warmth. Wear a scarf and wear a hat. Indoors and at night, if needs be. Don’t skimp on caring for your senses because it looks “silly”. Maybe part of your dinacharya (daily self care) is finding a hat and scarf you just LOVE to wear. Be kind and warm.
Second: Your ears may do well to have a little warm oil dropped into them each day. The easiest way to do this is to put your oil in a small dropper and warm the dropper in a mug of warm water. Not hot, just warm; remember the ears are delicate. Cold is a shock to those poor channels.
Use a warming oil, like sesame or an oil specific for the ears (Banyan Botanicals has a nice Ear Oil and you can buy it through the link below), or a garlic oil. Yes, often our tips are things you might remember from the old wives wisdoms. Do not use coconut oil, it is too cooling for the ears.
You may use your pinkie finger to get the oil into the ear canal (watch your nails). You may use a Q-tip (don’t go too deep). You may drip oil into your ears from the dropper.
Start with a few drops or a smaller amount of oil as you get to know your needs (note that one ear may be different than the other: that’s okay). Massage the ear flap and around the ear to get the oil in. If you start small, you may avoid cloggy feeling ears (like water in the ear) that can happen if there is too much oil or the oil begins to loosen stuck gunk (ear wax) too quickly and clogs. Slow and steady. You have plenty of time to increase the amount of oil used each day. And, let’s be honest, a few drops daily (dinacharya: daily routine) is better than a dropper full monthly or when you remember your ears exist because they are hurting or clogged or uncomfortable.
This is the one sense practice that you do not want to do in or around your shower. Water, oil, and ears don’t mix well. Have at least half an hour from your bathing time. You may even choose to oil your ears at the opposite time of day that you bathe. If you bathe in the morning, oil the ears at night.
Cotton balls are nice to keep the ears warm after oiling, especially in this cold (and coming spacious) Vata time of year.
A small dropper bottle helps to warm the oil faster and means you are renewing the oil more often, which will keep your dropper and oil and bottle cleaner.
Wear a hat and a scarf! Keep your ears warm always, but especially if they have been recently oiled. This is a basic tip: oil equals add warmth (hats, scarves, coats, etc.). Vata is best managed day-to-day with warmth and coziness!!
Do not oil your ears during an acute infection or “issue” unless directed to do so by a medical doctor or Ayurvedic Practitioner.
Travel Tips: our ears take serious abuse in travel (especially airplane travel). Cotton balls soaked in oil are more easily taken through security check points and are wonderful to oil the ears and block out travel noise (and germs and cold). Teaser: there might be some travel tips in an upcoming Musings with Charlotte and Janet to come. Oiling the ears also helps to overall soothe Vata systemically, so oiling the ears in travel helps with all sorts of travel jitters that show up in our own unique and special ways.
Enjoy! Have Happy Ears and BeeWell.
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