Incense Sticks – Clearing Energy or Inviting Cancer? – 8 Dec 10


Many people in the spiritual scene, actually nearly everybody who has spiritual interest, does yoga and meditation, likes burning incense sticks. I guess that probably more than 70% of the readers of my diary like to use incense sticks often, be it in their yoga studios, healing and massage centers or simply in their living room or close to their bathtub. They like to use it to create a ‘spiritual atmosphere’, to make the room smell nice and to make others or themselves feel good.

Others use incense sticks in rituals. This is very common in India, too, in Hinduism and Islam. When people worship and sit in front of their altar, it is very usual that there are several incense sticks glimmering at the side, sending their smell in big smoke rings into the room. This is a religious use of the smoke and its smells.

It is probably related to this religious use that some people believe lighting incense clears the energy in a room. To be honest with you, I don’t think so. If your room is stinking or has a bad smell, the smoke of incense can clear – or rather overlay – this smell. I can believe this much. If you have bad energy there however, I think not even an incense stick can help. Maybe you should overthink how you created that bad energy?

And additionally lighting that incense stick is very bad for your health. It is commonly known that the smoke of incense sticks increases the risk of lung cancer. It is just as bad as standing next to a person smoking a cigarette. There is a row of toxic substances found in the smoke of burning incense that increase the risk of cancer in the respiratory tract, brain tumors and leukemia. Especially young children and babies should not get close to the smoke of burning incense.

To be honest, I never liked incense sticks. I grew up with them, with rituals and incense sticks, but I never liked the smoke or the smell. Whenever I had a lecture, people thought I would like it and they would prepare the room and especially the place where I would sit with incense sticks. Each time I had to ask them to remove the incense first and open the windows for a while to get some fresh air before I could start my lecture. People very often wondered why I don’t like incense sticks. The smoke made my eyes sting, my throat ache and breathing difficult. In that condition I could have never given a nice lecture! Now I got to know that they are actually that bad for your health and so I am very happy that I have not been using them. Think of it: my whole life long I have lived in surroundings where incense sticks are normal. How would my lungs look like? I think it is very good that I never liked incense.

Take care of yourself and your body. I don’t want to create any panic among those who used to light incense for years and I definitely think it is wrong to be constantly afraid of getting ill of diseases like cancer. But still, you don’t need to invite these diseases and you can take care of your body. If you know how to live healthy, do it. Not burning incense is another step on this way.

13 Replies to “Incense Sticks – Clearing Energy or Inviting Cancer? – 8 Dec 10”

  1. Is this danger of cancer maybe because of the used glue in the incense or just because of the ingredients?I think maybe it is better to use the expensive Japanese incense, without wood in it.
    And to be 100% sure one could use the original stuff, for example pitch burned on coal. For smoking dried parts of plants it could be simply done by putting them on a sieve above a tea-light. But dried part of plants are often cause of cancer, be alert!
    And anyhow, I always open a window when I use to burn something of the above mentioned, cause too much of anything is never good. 😉



  2. incense sticks have always made me sneeze and cough, it’s really that simple for me. I do like watching the smoke float up, there is something spirit-feeling about it, but I choose breath.

  3. If we listen to our bodies we don’t need to wait for a scientific report saying something is dangerous to come out before we know to be cautious of something. I’m not saying to blindly trust yourself, but if something feels like ti is harming you…why do it?

  4. I actually really love the smell of incense and it calms me down. For me I think it is worth the risk but that is not to say I would recommend it for others.

  5. A lot of rituals can be really harmful. I think it is fantastic to trust ourselves when we question these things even if the rest of the world is telling us not to.

  6. I have always loved the smell and feel of insence, but now maybe I will think twice before lighting up 2 or 3 sticks in a row. Essential oils are a much nicer alternative and actually have healing properties.

  7. If you get close enough to any type of smoke, it will make you cough. Every morning I wake up in India, I smell smoke in the air from fires burning outside. Honestly, if you like the smell of incense, then enjoy it. Even people who have never smoked in their lives could get lung cancer. If incense helps your spiritual practice, then it’s probably worth it. In my opinion, being healthy and balanced is one thing; being afraid to do anything that will cause cancer is another.

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