The BBC’s Executive Complaints Unit has upheld our complaint against “Claudia tries… Ear Candling”, a short video which appeared on the Glasgow based digital platform, The Social.
We were concerned that the video gave the misleading impression that ear candling is both effective and safe. The presenter, Claudia Scott, said ear candles are known for drawing out impurities, clearing pressure and relieving sinuses. She also said she would recommend this as an alternative to ear syringing, for anyone who is worried about having their ears syringed.
The BBC ECU concluded:
There is no evidence that ear-candling is an effective treatment for any condition, and the website version of the item (though not its Facebook iteration) was accompanied by text stating the NHS view was that the practice was not supported by evidence and that sinus/ear problems should be referred to a doctor or pharmacist. However, this was entirely offset by comments from the presenter which recommended the treatment and endorsed claims for its effects.
The Head of Editorial Standards, Scotland, has discussed with the team the importance of accuracy in items which feature or make reference to practices which might be harmful.
We would suggest that any subject relating to health or medicine would require careful consideration and is unlikely to be suitable for a light-hearted “lifestyle” feature. Presenting fringe ideas and treatments in this way gives the audience a wholly misleading impression and can even lead them to make unwise and even dangerous health decisions.