If the idea of cleansing your home through the practice of smoke burning doesn’t exactly sound like your cup of tea, you’re not alone.
Normally referred to as smudging, smoke burning can seem somewhat impractical and even a little unsafe. But, it’s actually pretty easy and completely safe when done properly, plus it can have a positive impact on the mind and body, whilst purifying your surroundings.
So, without further ado, let’s take a closer look at this meditative and cleansing exercise.
What is smudging and where does it originate?
Smudging involves burning powerful herbs, usually arranged in a bundle, in such a way that the herbal fragrance of the smoke fills the room. The most widely used herb is sage due to its antimicrobial and even antibacterial properties, although traditionally, it was the herb of choice based on the belief that it clears out spiritual impurities.
As an ancient Native American spiritual ritual, the practice of smudging is steeped in a rich history and tradition. It originated from a deep understanding of the way energy works – because energy is thought to be in constant motion, both positive and negative energy can be guided with the right tools and intent.
Although smudging is founded in Native American rituals, many cultures around the world share similar practices that centre on the use of herbs for working with and clearing energies. Even some feng shui practitioners recommend smudging to balance out Chi in a home.
Smudging: is it for me?
Whether you buy into the spiritual side of smudging or not, at it’s core it can simply be a wonderful exercise that can be used as a little “me time” or just a time to reflect and meditate.
Besides, there are proven health benefits, some backed with studies that show a number of reasons why it could improve your overall well being. For instance, a 2007 study shows that burning sage can actually decrease the level of aerial bacteria by up to 94 per cent; another shows that white sage is rich in compounds that activate certain receptors in the brain responsible for elevating mood levels, reducing stress, and even alleviating pain.
How do you smudge?
There is a huge variety of herbs that you can use for smudging, and you can pick them depending on their individual properties. Sage, cedar wood, lavender and sweetgrass are all commonly used. Our personal favourite is INCAUSA’s Wild White Sage. While herb bundles are most common, you can also use resin wood sticks. Another one to top our list is INCAUSA’s High Resin Palo Santo Wood.
There are a few tools you’ll need and a series of simple steps you can follow to make sure you’re doing it as safely as possible.
What you’ll need:
- Smudge Stick
- Fireproof container (this can be a ceramic or clay bowl)
- A bowl of sand (this is not mandatory but useful to extinguish the smudge stick after you’re done)
To get started:
- Make sure you’ve set out a good 10-15 minutes to carry out the process.
- Once you have your tools, light the tip of the herb bundle with a match or a lit candle and gently wave it until the tip begins to smoulder.
- Wave your smudge stick through the air gently so tat smoke goes into the areas of your home you want to cleanse.
- Make sure you hold the smudge stick over a fireproof container the whole time.
Alternatives to smudging
If smudging really isn’t for you, you can still enjoy the benefits of burning herbs, only in the form of incense or resin sticks. Take your pick from the INCAUSA beautifully handmade collection.