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Incense as Aromatherapy


Aromatherapy is healing through scent. It is considered as an alternative medicine which aims to “enhance psychological and physical well-being” (What is Aromatherapy, 2010.) Typically it comes in the form of concentrated essential oils from “flowers, bark, stems, leaves, roots, or other parts of a plant.” Its mode of application is through inhalation (direct from the bottle, or through a diffuser) or topical (applied on the skin). Since these oils are highly concentrated, don’t be surprised to find a tiny bottle of essential oil expensive as compared to its cologne or water-based counterparts.

One might wonder if aromatherapy can be limited to essential oils. Actually, in common sense, any scent which becomes therapeutic can already be considered as an aromatherapy. Take for example temple incenses. These incenses are used during spiritual rituals and can usually be seen on altars and Chinese cemeteries. For some people, they use incenses simply as something nice to smell during the day or could be a deodorizer especially if they find the scent desirable. There are a variety of incenses like Moldavite incense, Mt. Everest incense, and Tibetan Norbu incense.

Nowadays, incenses can either be synthetically or naturally made. When buying, it is important to check the label to see if the materials used are natural or not. It is best to buy the natural ones if you are after the healing properties. Actually even in perfumes, laboratory formulated ones are available in the market. There is nothing wrong with the synthetically made ones if you are just after the scent. However, if you are after aromatherapy as an alternative medicine, better go for the natural ones.

Incenses can come in the form of sticks, cones, powders, or in raw form like resins and wood substances. But the most common form are sticks which can either be hand-made or manufactured in factories. You just ignite a match or a lighter at the tip of the stick and cone types. For the self-lighting loose incense powders, shape it first in the form of a cone/pyramid and then light it up. There is a type of incense powder which is not self-lighting so what you have to use is a charcoal disc which after you light you put in some powder on top to create an incense smoke. For the resins, herbs, and other wood materials, use the charcoal disc as well.


What is Aromatherapy? (2010.) Retrieved from