Smudging is an ancient ceremonial act practised by Native Americans for centuries, it is an act of cleansing and purification using a selection of herbs bundled together.
The smoke that is emitted from the bundle is believed to remove and cleanse negative energy and purify the space you live in.
There has been a dramatic rise is smudging in recent years, but it does appear that the reason behind it is being lost with this increase. It should be remembered that smudging is an ancient ceremony and not some fad.
There have been studies that are linked to a more positive mood and many other benefits when smudging has been used, such as the release of negative ions, which you can find released by sunlight and water, most people notice that walking in the woods or spending time near a waterfall or the beach gives them a sense of calm.
In high concentrations, negative ions can clear mold spores, pollen, odors, cigarette smoke, viruses, bacteria, and other hazardous airborne particles.
Negative ions attract positively charged particles for example mold spores which makes them too heavy to remain airborne and they drop to nearby surfaces where they can be cleaned away thus preventing you from breathing them in and causing respiratory issues.
Our homes are full to the brim of electronics, TV’s washing machines, computers, even our carpets and sofas emit positive ions, so smudging our homes releasing negative ions counteracts this and that is why it is such a beneficial thing to do.
A good smudging on a regular basis is alike to spending the day at the beach in reducing the negative effects our homes can have on us.
You can find evidence and research completed to back up these claims for example;
Aboriginal elder-in-residence at the University of Toronto, Cat Criger, says that when done properly, smudging can also be a way to connect with Native American culture.
“To understand the protocol means you have to learn something about aboriginal people. So in a sense the medicines are working in a kind way, saying ‘learn about me and we can respect each other and we can walk together,’ ” he noted.
If you think smudging is just some kind of “woo woo” with no science to back it up, think again. Research published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology entitled Medicinal Smokes in 2006 found that burning smudge sticks has the ability to cleanse the surrounding air of harmful bacteria. The authors reported: “The most frequent medical indications for medicinal smoke are pulmonary (23.5%), neurological (21.8%) and dermatological (8.1%). A very large list of pathogenic bacteria was shown to be absent in an open room after a remarkable 30 days following treatment, leading the authors to conclude, “We have demonstrated that by using medicinal smoke it is possible to completely eliminate diverse plant and human pathogenic bacteria of the air within confined space.”
8 Benefits of Smudging:
In addition to cleansing the air of unwanted bacteria, the benefits of smudging, and producing negative ions are many, including:
Increasing your sense of well-being and improving mental focus.
Smudging removes the excess positive ions in the air in a way that’s been described as a natural antidepressant, enabling you to focus more feel better in yourself which is what pharmaceutical prescriptions try to achieve.
Clearing negative energy.
When the smoke from smudging changes the air and energy it has a cleansing effect. One of our strongest senses is smell as this is linked to our memories, smudging can help with combating feelings of anger, fear, anxiety, grief and depression.
It seems that the negative ions produced from smudging can offer a serious antidepressant effect without the side effects so often found in prescription antidepressant. Dr Clarence Hansell, a research engineer who delved into the biological effects of negative ions in the air in the 1930s after noticing that the mood of one of his colleagues changed in response to ions being generated by their equipment, discovered that his colleague was more joyful when the machine produced negative ions and more sullen when it produced positive ions.
In a controlled study published in 1998 in the Archives of General Psychiatry, focused on seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, that was an extension of Hansell’s work, researchers found fresh air charged with negative ions was an effective treatment and prevention method of depression, thanks to its effects on serotonin levels, similar to the way antidepressant drugs works.
Clearing the air.
More and more people are developing allergies that really impact their lives, smudging can help clear the air of pollen, pet hair, dust, mold spores to name a few and this can only be a good thing, as allergies can really impact a person’s life.
Smudging not only can cleanse a room, but it can also cleanse objects too. Some people prefer to purchase antique furniture that will have over time collected and been exposed to negative energy. Smudging your new purchase will clear it of this and keep your home clear.
Smudging does have a calming effect which is known to lower blood pressure, relieve stress and help to normalize your breathing rate caused by the stress, as you are breathing in the negative ions you are also absorbing them into your bloodstream.
Studies have found that the negative ions produced can help to normalize your serotonin levels which is more commonly known as the feel-good hormone in our brains, it can boost your mood, give you more focus and a general overall improved positive outlook.
An Italian study showed that negative ions can help improve sleep patterns, and also have positive effects on regulating serotonin production.
You can find how to make your own smudge stick in this article.
How to Smudge Your Living Space:
Your chosen smudge stick
A fireproof dish or abalone shell
Feather – optional
Matches or a lighter.
Before you begin open your windows to allow for ventilation, place your smudge stick on your fireproof dish and light, gently blow out the flame allowing the smudge stick to them smoulder. If the smudge stick reignites blow again or shake until the flame has gone and you have only smoke, you may need to relight a few times during your smudging so keep your lighter to hand.
Once your smudge stick has a good amount of smoke you are ready to begin, keep your dish under the smudge stick to catch the embers.
Begin by starting at your feet use your hand or a feather to direct the smoke until you reach the top of your head.
If you feel comfortable with it, you can also repeat the following incantation: “Air, fire, water, earth. Cleanse, dismiss, dispel.”
This is considered to be a sacred sage ceremony that allows you to shift energy at will.
Now you’re ready to smudge your home.
Starting at your front door, gently wave smoke focusing on all corners to remove stagnant energy. Remember any closets or cabinets as you move from room to room. When you reach each doorway, ask that the room be sealed and protected from this point on while you smudge the outline of the doorway, passing through it to keep any more energy from passing while you conduct the clearing.
In order for the smudging ceremony to be most effective, the smoke needs to cover every room, closet, door, vent, and window. The idea is to walk to each entrance, clearing every room so that you’re pushing all the negative energy out toward the front entrance.
Once you’ve smudged your whole house, allow the herb bundle to burn out. You may want to bury the remaining smudge in your garden, as a sign of completing the ritual.