Four Surprising Benefits Of Burning Incense
Anyone tuned into the tradition of incense, traditionally used as a devotional adjunct to worship, knows its good for the soul. However now science is catching up with ancient wisdom and showing that incense can also be good for our brain. A global team of scientists, including researchers from Johns Hopkins University and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, counsel burning frankincense (resin from the Boswellia plant) can activate poorly understood ion channels within the brain to alleviate anxiety or depression.
Incense is more than just a trinket from the health food store. From Native American pipe ceremonies to incense-infused Hindu pujas, prayers ride the wings of smoke to the ears of God—think of it as a way to text the divine. Listed below are four of our favorite boons that incense bestows:
Ritual implies generosity—providing a stick of incense signifies at least some give up, some perception in an influence higher than your own. The act of providing itself, executed without expectation of something in return to your gesture, plants the seeds of generosity.
Incense, with its seductive, earthy fragrance, helps cultivate appreciation. Incense can open the doorway to giving and receiving with gratitude. Traditionally, it’s believed that smoke purifies mind and body to obtain from Spirit. Breathe in the fragrant smoke and allow yourself to completely receive the day’s bounty. Then, send the smoke upward providing a prayer to the all the unseen forces that maintain your life.
Lighting incense joins the above with the beneath, heaven with earth. Smoke moves up and out, taking a smidgen of our souls with it. It connects you with the elements of air, fire, and ether, reigniting your relationship to the world.
As science is lastly cottoning on to, incense can truly help with depression. The leading edge research on how incensole acetate, purified from frankincense, works on specific targets within the brain demonstrates the way the nervous system responds to certain smells. The aforementioned research also provides a biological clarification for millennia-old spiritual practices that have persisted throughout time, distance, tradition, language, and religion. Seems to be true—burning incense really does make you feel warm and tingly all over.
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