Incense sticks: tips for correct use & purchase

Incense sticks: tips for correct use & purchase

Application & Tips
What incense sticks are suitable for and what you should consider

Person holding incense sticks

Incense sticks can be a helpful accessory when meditating, among other things

© Emilija Randjelovic / iStock / Getty Images

Whether for meditation, yoga or for a good scent at home: incense sticks have different areas of application. What you should consider when using and what you should know before purchasing.

They spread an intense scent and can have a positive effect on the mood: Incense sticks are suitable for meditating, yoga or as a scented accessory at home. What you should know about the chopsticks and what they are suitable for.

What exactly are incense sticks?

Incense sticks are incense that are brought into the practical shape of a stick. This happens in different ways, depending on the type of incense stick. When they are burned, the scent unfolds – usually a very intense one. A distinction is made between these types of incense sticks:

  • Japanese incense sticks do not contain a wooden stick, but water, fragrances and wood powder are pressed into sticks. The whole thing is then dried.
  • The Tibetan incense sticks are also created in this way, but are slightly larger in diameter than Japanese incense sticks.
  • Vietnamese and Indian incense sticks have a wooden or bamboo stick onto which the active ingredients are pressed. When burning, you smell a smokier note in addition to the actual incense.

History of Incense Sticks

It is said that fumigation has been around since fire was discovered. Fire used to be considered a gift from the gods. With the incense of dry herbs, bark or resin, new prayer rituals emerged that were supposed to drive out negative vibrations and spirits. Some still believe in this and use incense and incense sticks for this purpose.

Incense sticks are part of religious ceremonies in Buddhism and Hinduism. Aside from these applications, they can now also be found in private households, where they are used without a religious background and are used as a fragrant accessory for meditation, yoga or simply for a pleasant or calming room fragrance.

Effect of incense sticks

Whether the use of incense sticks can really do something with negative energies has not been proven. It is clear, however, that fragrance and ritual can affect one’s own mood and well-being. Incense sticks are said to have the following effects:

  • The smoke is supposed to have a cleansing effect and, as already mentioned, free rooms from negative energies. There is no scientific evidence or other evidence for this.
  • Some fragrances promote concentration and can contribute to inner peace and calming, such as scents such as sandalwood. Calming scents are especially good for meditating. The senses are also stimulated by scents, which is particularly suitable for yoga or meditation, as it is about feeling awareness and perception with all senses.
  • Incense sticks can also help to keep mosquitoes and flies away.
  • The sticks are also suitable as accessories for aromatherapy and are used to calm the body, soul and spirit.
  • Incense sticks with scents such as cinnamon or rose can have a stimulating, warming and aphrodisiac effect.

Application of incense sticks

Using an incense stick correctly seems very simple: light it and off you go. But: It takes a little knowledge to unfold the effect of the incense. To use it, you first need the following:

Then it’s time to light the fire and later to safely turn it off. This works best as follows:

Light incense sticks

  1. Place the incense stick holder on a fireproof surface.
  2. Light the incense stick at the tip and gently fan it with your hand until it glows. It now begins to smoke and the fragrance gradually unfolds.
  3. Now place the incense stick in the incense stick holder. Alternatively, a container with sand in which the chopstick can hold is also suitable.

put out incense sticks

If you use the incense stick for yoga or meditation or for a calming scent, you can simply let it burn out to the end. Alternatively, you can also extinguish it with water beforehand, for example by holding it in a glass of water. After using incense sticks, it is best to air the room well.

Buying Tips

Depending on what you intend to do with the incense stick and which scents you like, there are criteria that you can use as a guide when buying:

  • How to make: Do you like the smoky note when burning? Then Vietnamese and Indian incense sticks that have a wooden or bamboo stick are suitable. Otherwise, reach for Tibetan or Japanese, where the incense is pressed without a stick.
  • Ingredients/fragrance: Do you want to use the stick to calm down? Then fragrance notes such as sandalwood, lavender and others are suitable. For a stimulating effect, use rose or cinnamon instead.
  • Burning time: For longer yoga sessions, for example, incense sticks with a longer burning time are suitable, such as Tibetan incense sticks, which are quite large in diameter.

Danger from smoke detectors?

Since there is a lot of smoke when using incense sticks, it can happen that the smoke alarm sounds. The sticks should therefore ideally be used in a room where there is no smoke detector. It is best to close the door and then air it out. Alternatively, the smoke detector can be switched off or the battery can be removed while smoking is in progress. However, it is essential to activate the smoke detector properly afterwards.

Possible risks of using incense sticks

Incense sticks can increase well-being, contribute to calming or concentration and have other positive effects. However, there are also risks involved in using it:

  • Inferior products often contain synthetic additives that are not only harmful to the environment, but can also be hazardous to health. Incense sticks with natural ingredients are therefore best.
  • Incense sticks emit fine dust particles into the air. These can penetrate the lungs and therefore increase the risk of lung cancer. Heart disease, asthma and nerve damage are also sometimes associated with incense, so we draw attention to these risks as well.

Alternatives to incense sticks

If you have concerns about using incense sticks, but want intensive scents at home, you can also use aromatherapy with essential oils. So there is about aroma diffuserwhich you can fill with essential oils to release different scents as well.

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