How to Burn Incense the Right Way

Burning incense may seem simple and straightforward. You light it. You set it. It burns. Then, it’s done.

Depending on what kind of incense you’re using and the effect you’re looking to achieve, the process of burning incense can vary. For example, incense can come as coils, cones, powders, and sticks. How you light and burn each changes slightly.

This article is about how to burn incense and what to expect when you burn incense. As straightforward as it is, here is how to get the most from burning incense.

Incense Sticks |


Light Your Incense

Igniting incense should happen very gently. A lighter or match can be used to light the tip. Look for a flame. Once you see the incense has been ignited, extinguish the flame by blowing it out. Then, your incense should have a faint glow. It will begin to produce scented smoke instantly.

How Long Does Incense Burn?

Using incense sticks, you can expect to have your incense burn between 50 and 90 minutes. What’s convenient about incense sticks are how safe they are. At the end of their burning, they extinguish themselves. You don’t have to do a thing.

Don’t Leave Burning Incense Unattended

Never leave burning incense in a room for an extended period of time. It is a fire hazard.

Use an incense burner or stand when burning incense. This will not only contain the ash but guard against it from falling on a surface where it could ignite.

To this point, ensure you place your incense holder on a fire-resistant surface.

Benefits of Burning Incense

Burning incense is used in North America to counteract bad or disagreeable odors. Elsewhere in the world though, burning incense is used as a part of religious practice and is also a way to protect against bad spirits and demons.

At a secular level, burning incense sticks in Canada has not been thoroughly studied in terms of benefits.

There are a few notable studies out there though that do show some potential benefits to incense. One study found in cell structures in mice that burning frankincense had a similar effect as an antidepressant. Another study found that burning incense had an anti-inflammatory effect on the brain of mice.

Don’t Burn Incense Close to Your Nose

Incense smoke contains a variety of components, including several gases.

Ideally, avoid burning incense close to where you are seated or lying down. Inhaling incense smoke has been associated with a potential higher risk of lung cancer, asthma symptoms, and high blood pressure.

All in all, incense burning is very safe health-wise. However, repeated burning and especially underneath the nose can pose some risks according to recent studies.

That said, burning incense has been a part of various cultural and religious ceremonies for centuries without issue. 

To pick up your favourite type of incense sticks to burn, visit As long as you minimize fire hazards, place it at a safe distance, and don’t leave the room for an extended period of time, you’re burning incense the right way!

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