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Sleep deprived and cranky? Just light a few sticks of lavender incense in your bedroom in the evening and feel your troubles literally float away with the heady smoke. Want to create a romantic mood for a special meal at home – reach out for some rose incense to infuse the environment with pure and positive thoughts. And if you just want to clear your mind of the clutter and the confusion get yourself some sticks of Lemon or Orange to uplift and energise you.

That’s just a few examples of how incense works. The  study of incense is the basis of Aromatherapy, a popular form of alternative healing and beauty treatment today.

Incense has been universally accepted as the purifier and is used across the world as part of religious ceremonies as well as medical healing.

In India, incense was and is used daily in all temples and rituals at home to sanctify devotions, where as in China incense is burned to purify and rid the environment of all negative spirits. Mexicans used incense to induce trance like states during rituals, Native Americans and Wiccans cleanse environments and human auras by smudging with bundles of aromatic herbs like white sage. the Greeks and Romans also used essential oils and fragrant herbs in all aspects of their daily lives, and many of their practices were learned from the Egyptians and Mesopotamians who were without doubt, the absolute masters in the Art of “Aromatherapy”.

Incense is believed to cleanse the environment of negative vibrations, and also has an extraordinary effect of soothing the mind. Just like a candle brings light to a dark room, the aromatic effect of incense offers tranquility to our senses. If used during meditation, incense is said to dissipate the negative energy. Burning of incense helps to create a positive state of mind and helps condition the mind to associate the typical fragrance with a positive and calm mind.

According to Dr. K. L. Sheshagiri Rao, Chief Editor of the Encyclopedia of Hinduism and Professor Emeritus at the University of Virginia, incense is supposed to have a calming effect on the mind. In particular, jasmine and sandalwood scents are supposed to bring out a peaceful mindset

Call it a feel good fix, incense works. Some fragrances like sandalwood have properties calm and purify, while citrus based ones are generally thought to be uplifting and clarifying. While trying out some home fragrances, you can burn 2-3 different kinds of incense together, or even opt for essential oil blends to burn to help you.

Here are a few favourites for use in the following purposes/conditions

Meditation

To aid in meditation, nothing beats the sweet aromatic smoke of sandalwood. However, if you prefer the aroma of frankincense, rose, jasmine, bergamot and geranium

Stress Relief

Tension and stress are major problems in today’s society and you can use a combination of incense and even blend the fragrances as essential oils. Good choices would include Lavender (I recommend my clients not only burn incense sticks of this delightfully soothing floral fragrance, but also opt for all personal care products in this smell to help with stress relief), Sandalwood for those who prefer a heavier aroma, Lemon, Mandarin, Lemon grass, clarysage and patchouli.

Love & Harmony

Harmony is essential to life and if you feel there have been too many disagreements lately or simply an accumulation of negative thoughts, and what could be better than burning a few sticks of the following incense to bring a harmony? Choose Rose, Peppermint, Strawberry, Gardenia, Frankincense, Myrhh  and Jasmine.

Cleansing and Purifying

During the rainy season, citronella and pine works well to ward away the mosquitoes and bugs. Pine is a popular disinfectant in essential oils and is known to dissipate the germs in the air.

Easily available and highly affordable, incense can be used for a variety of things, and can be stored for long durations without any risk of losing their fragrance.

So the next time you just want a soothing fix – reach out for an incense stick and allow its smoke to uplift you.

 

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