• Hitomi Ejima

5 Reasons Why You Should Start Smudging

Smudging is a cleansing ritual that has been practiced by the Native Americans for centuries. By burning certain herbs bundled into sticks (often sage), the act purifies the area where it is burned. The smoke is believed to dispel negative energy in rooms or houses, but can also be used on items or people.

Today, smudging is an increasingly growing practice around the world. There are more benefits to it than you think—and some of them are even backed by science.

(Sage bundle stick from @om.mnl)

Smudging releases negative ions.

That doesn't sound like a good thing, but it is. Negative ions are actually found plentiful in nature, such as by the beach or in the forest. They're the reason why we feel calm whenever we're outdoors, as negative ions have been linked in studies to yield a more positive mood.

It purifies the air.

These same negative ions clear the air of dust, mold, pollen, dander, bacteria, viruses, and lingering odors. This is because negative ions latch on to all these harmful particles, causing them to be heavy enough to no longer stay airborne. It won't kill or remove these particles in case they fall on surfaces, but at least it will be easier to wipe or dust them off.

It's called "nature's antidepressant."

Negative ions are also known to ease stress and depression. An extensive study on the work of Dr. Clarence Hansell, a research engineer, found that negative ions work like antidepressant drugs due to their ability to normalize serotonin levels. This effect boosts mood, improves focus, and yields a more positive mindset.

It's an all-around relaxant.

The smell alone is enough to give you a sense of calm, like stepping into a spa or massage. Smudging can also help lower blood pressure, improve sleep, and ease tension. This is because negative ions are absorbed directly into the bloodstream, and can even help fend off free radicals that cause premature aging and disease. Talk about a new step in your self-care routine!

It cleanses your crystals.

Because smudging is good for purifying most things, it's no surprise that crystal aficionados burn herbs to cleanse their stones. Since a lot of crystals absorb negative energy from us and our surroundings, it's good to clear out that stored, bad energy every so often.

(Palo santo sticks from @curiouscatph)

However, like all things produced for mass consumption, there are also adverse effects to the smudging movement. California white sage, a popular variety, has become increasingly endangered—so alternatives such as palo santo, lavender, cedar, juniper, cinnamon, rosemary, and sweetgrass can also be used.

There has also been controversy on how the popularity of smudging has misappropriated sacred indigenous rituals and practices. While the Native Americans don't claim exclusive right to it, it is important to pay respect and honor tradition. It's most ideal to smudge with a clear mind and intent, so meditating before the ritual is helpful.

(Shop at @pinkeystrading_gems on IG)

There's really only a couple of things you need to smudge: your herb stick of choice and a fire-proof bowl to contain ashes (usually an abalone shell). We personally find lighting with a candle is more helpful, since it can take time for the stick to burn depending on the herbs you use. Don't forget to open windows or doors, as the smoke that contains all that negative energy needs to be let out!

Smudging also doesn't have to be expensive, since one bundle will usually last you several rounds. Done once a week, one stick can last you several months. Try it at least once, and it might just be the game changer you need.


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