The Beginner's Guide to Sandalwood Incense for Mental Well-being

History of Incense

In some cultures, incense is considered sacred and used to bring peace to oneself; in other cultures, incense is considered nothing more than a gift; this difference is attributed to the origin of incense.


Frankincense originated in Japan and was originally used in the Sengoku period when the neighboring states fought each other. Upper-class nobles and samurais began to burn pots of mixed plants, oils and spices, the raw materials of incense, in order to prepare themselves. For the nobles, this preparation was in the form of cleansing their minds and soothing their spirits, for the samurai, it was in the form of purifying their souls and infusing their weapons with scent to protect their aura in battle.


Today, incense sticks continue to be used in religion and spirituality, but are now also widely used in health and relaxation. Native Americans use incense to protect themselves from certain diseases, incense is used in the Philippines to treat typhoid fever, and people all over the world use incense to relieve stress-related symptoms such as headaches and high blood pressure. In short, the use of incense has never been as popular as it is today.


Forms of Incense

There are three main forms of incense:


Sticks

Spirals

Cones


Frankincense comes not only in different forms but also in many different aromas. A common misconception among newcomers is that there is a single ‘best’ aroma. In truth, there are countless aromas, and each triggers a different physical and emotional response. Because of this, aromas are highly subjective, not only to the situation in which they are used, but also to the individual user, to the states they wish to invoke, and to their personal preferences. In short, the best aroma is the one that works best for you. Despite this subjectiveness, sandalwood has long been a popular option for both beginners and the highly experienced for several well-deserved reasons.


Sandalwood

sweet aroma smell


this 2014 study


Benefits of Sandalwood Incense

Sandalwood incense transmits warmth to its surrounding environment and creates a state of calm through its relaxing aroma. This is one of the few reasons the incense is popular with guests, friends and family - its relaxing effect facilitates smoother conversations and better moods between people. If you’re an individual who believes in having an energetic atmosphere while entertaining others, sandalwood would be well suited for you.


In addition to mood-boosting benefits, the aroma can also improve our mental abilities, for example, when studying or preparing for a hard day at work, and improve our mental well-being in times of high stress.


Sandalwood is also widely used in bedrooms by people struggling to get a good night’s sleep. Although it can improve your sleep quality, incense should only be burned before bed and not during sleep for obvious safety reasons.


What is it normally used for?

Sandalwood is used as the basis for many other fragrances because of its sweet but neutral smell. Due to its neutrality and the long duration it lasts, it is often used to provide a sublet touch to other fragrances and aromas. For this reason, it’s recommended that sandalwood incense is placed in the center of your home so it can spread properly and give the subtle scent for which it is well-known for.


Final Thoughts

As already mentioned, sandalwood frankincense brings an aroma to your home that puts you in a state of calm and tranquility, and while not a cure for extreme stress or anxiety, it can go a long way to easing some of their symptoms.


As we reach the end of what has been a hectic year, incense not only provides the perfect opportunity to help you unwind but can also make for a great Christmas gift that many will love. Whether it’s your friends, a loved one, or a colleague, incense can be enjoyed by all.

Hi, I'm Shayan, a maternity nurse from Vancouver. I enjoy self-development (currently reading anything and everything by Tony Robbins), yoga and writing about topics on health, spirituality and well-being. Feel free to check out some of my posts!
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