Updated: Sep 1
I recently visited a boutique in Sedona and picked up some Palo Santo wood. I have been on the hunt for a scent to use during meditation. Meditating is a new practice for me and adding sensory elements have been an effective tool to help me stay present and in the moment.
I have been using mantras and music in my meditation practice and wanted to add a scent to my ritual. I considered a variety of different incense fragrances but the browsing experience alone left me nauseated. Then I discovered the Palo Santo, known as "Holy wood" which has a gentle soothing aroma. LotsofZen.com states that Palo Santo wood contains a bioactive compound called limonene which has been shown in studies to reduce anxiety and boost concentration. A wood burning scent with medicinal benefits, this sounded like my answer. I decided to look into it and find out more about this holy wood.
According to Wikipedia, Bursera graveolens known as Palo santo (Holy Wood in Spanish) is a tree that's native to the Yucatan Peninsula. For centuries, shamans and medicine men used Palo Santo wood to treat people for a variety for ailments and utilized its spiritual purification properties to clear negative energy. Healthline.com's article What Is Palo Santo, and How Is It Used Medicinally? states that Palo Santo wood, oil and resin have been used for thousands of years to treat pain and stress and is widely used as a mosquito repellant. That is perfect timing as we head into summer, goodbye stinky Off spray, hello Palo Santo!
After doing my research, I decided to purchase these wood sticks and give them a try. When burned, the wood does have a nice relaxing aroma. Burning Palo Santo is not like burning incense that burns down completely, it only burns for a few minutes. How does it work?
1. You light the wood stick with a lighter or match.
2. Hold it downward for a several seconds until a small flame forms.
3. Blow out the flame and place it in a heat proof dish.
The stick will smolder for a few minutes and release the infamous aroma. The scent and the slow smoky smolder are relaxing and mesmerizing.
This definitely did the trick. The fragrance helps me to get into a relaxed state of mind while engaging my senses allowing me to focus during my meditation practice. I also occasionally burn it while taking a long hot bath after an intense day.
If you are looking for natural remedies to reduce your stress levels, I highly recommend meditation and if you are new to meditating adding sensory components can help you stay connected to the present. If meditation isn't your thing and you want to use a natural substance to reduce your anxiety and stress levels, give burning Palo Santo wood a try. When something has been used for centuries, it has clearly stood the test of time. Those shamans and medicine men were definitely onto something.
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