Anybody who has experimented with any religion has probably been introduced to incense. It has been used as a staple in spiritual practices since humans started philosophizing about the nature of our existence.
It originates from early cultures all over the world, being popular in Indian and Native American ceremonies. Incense made its way to European civilization by way of the silk road and was quickly adopted in non-secular practices.
The benefits of incense
While incense is still widely used in religion and spiritual ceremonies (as well as by high schoolers covering up the smell of pot) people are burning incense in their homes because of the array of benefits incense offers. It can be used for focus, creativity, relaxation and so much more.
Incense comes in tons of different scents and each type offers different benefits. We love experimenting with scents and finding the one that best fits our mood and brings us the desired effects we’re looking for.
1.Relax, unwind, find peace
There’s no surprise that aromas help in relaxation. Certain scents may slow down the nervous system which helps calm the body and find peace on a physical level. We love to use the healing scents of lavender, chamomile, vetiver, and sandalwood to help quell our stress at work and ease tension when we’re feeling overwhelmed.
Some of us have even incorporated burning these soothing scents into our daily unwind ritual to set us up for a good night’s sleep. An added benefit of burning incense as we finish our days is that it’s much safer than burning a candle. Since an incense stick has no flame and will eventually burn out on its own, the danger of falling asleep with it is much less than an open flamed candle.
2. Be mindful and focused
When you need to study, work or do anything that requires your focus, burn incense to get you in the right headspace. Most of us find we need some sort of sensory stimulation to get our minds ready and focused, but music can be intrusive. Burning incense is a great alternative to help you feed your senses as you buckle down and grind out some work.
Aloeswood is thought to stimulate your brain for focus.
3. Get creative
Feeling stuck in a rut? Have some writers block or need some inspiration for a room makeover? Burning Lemongrass, citrus scents, Geranium or Ylang-Ylang will revitalize and awaken your creativity.
Because smells are one of the most powerful triggers of the sense for memory, incense can also be a connection to the past, giving you inspiration for the present.
4. Set the mood (wink, wink)
Incense has been used for sexual arousal since the beginning of documentation. You can find the use of incense in Indian’s (and the world’s) most notable encyclopedia on sensuality–the Kamasutra. Sexual desire is a full body deal so stimulating all of the senses can really impact your arousal.
Burning scents like jasmine, vanilla, rose, and cinnamon will set a sexy mood and engage your sense of smell that is so often neglected in sexual stimulation.
5. Boost your mood
Good aromas are thought to boost serotonin production in the brain. Unlike other areas of incense use where you choose a scent to find a desired effect, serotonin production is based on your personal interests. Your brain will be triggered to get the serotonin flowing when you smell something you like.
So, if you want to boost your mood, burn your favorite incense smell–whatever it may be. This one is up to you!
6. Connect spiritually
Incense has always been seen as a connection to something bigger than ourselves. Many spiritual practices see it as a way to communicate with whatever forces put us into existence and some even use incense as an offering to the ancestors or gods.
Some cultures even use incense like sage or palo santo to cleanse auras and negative spirits. Whenever you need a refresh, these scents are historically thought to have protective properties in the spiritual world.
Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and many other religions use incense to open a door to another realm and bring you closer to the forces you can’t see. Whether you are religious or spiritual, you can use incense to heighten your practice.
7. And obviously, cover up bad smells
Incense is a wonderful, natural way to cover up bad smells. Instead of reaching for an air-freshener loaded with toxins, burn incense. There are even specific incenses that have antibacterial properties, like Nag Champas. This incense may not only cover up a stench but also kill the bacteria in the air that is causing it.
We love burning incense and experimenting with its effects. For us, it seems like there’s always an occasion that calls for our favorite scents. We encourage you to play with the scents and see what magic you can create for yourself.
the importance of clean incense
Many of us are on the soy candle bandwagon because we've learned that the candles we burn release particles into the air—and with conventional brands, that means toxins like paraffins are filling your space and lungs. What many people may not realize is that the same goes for incense!
By sticking to clean incense, you can eliminate the risk of releasing dangerous chemicals and toxins into the air. One of our favorite thoughtfully made incenses comes from our friends at Zen Bunni—their Holy Smoke incense features a proprietary blend of Indonesian flowers, herbs, roots, nuts, and spices, and is totally free of synthetic binders. Get yours here!
Jessica is a writer & designer who captures the spirit of her generation. She approaches her craft with an anthropological mindset to find the perspective often unseen.
Jessica has studied the art of the written word & honed her craft over the last 8+ years.