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hoteipdx's avatar

Do you have direct experience with forms of incense that do not activate asthmatic reactions in children with sensetive systems?

Asked by hoteipdx (251 points ) October 17th, 2009

I have been reactivating my daily meditation practice. I realize that rituals like lighting incense are completely unnecessary, but it is nice to have a routine. I know that the incense we have around the house makes my five year old’s respiratory system go crazy. I have researched smokeless incense, oils, etc. on-line; but, I don’t know if I can truly rely on any of these products to: (a) have no impact, or even a positive impact, on my daugher’s lungs; and, (b) remain easy to acquire and use as part of a daily meditation practice. I am happy to give the whole search up, but I thought I would tap the collective first.

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12 Answers

PandoraBoxx's avatar

The place to seek guidance on this subject is your pediatrician. You know that. The only “routine” you’re probably going end up with is runs to the emergency room.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

The incense is not important to the practice. In fact, going without may improve your practice.

hearkat's avatar

Different people have different allergic and sensitivity triggers… have the child tested to determine her specific triggers. She could react to any scented substance, whether it emits smoke or not.

Darwin's avatar

You might consider lighting a candle instead, perhaps one of those long, skinny ones, so you can pretend to light incense. Otherwise, try lighting non-existent incense as an exercise for your mind. It is the Zen thing to do.

According to US News and World Reports, “Incense burning produces particulate matter and is known to contain possible carcinogens such as polyaromatic hyodrcarbons (PAHs), carbonyls and benzene.” In addition, incense made with pine pitch, as most is, is particularly bad for asthmatics. There exists hypo-allergenic incense that does not use pine pitch to activate the smoke. But it still involves burning something, which means inevitably compounds will be released in the air.

However, if you love your child, then I suggest virtual incense or no incense at all.

scamp's avatar

If it were me, I’d rather be safe than sorry and use nothing at all. But if you can get your child tested as @hearkat mentions above, you may be able to find a safer way. Personally, I don’ think it’s worth the risk.

RedPowerLady's avatar

Sage is supposed to be an anti-asthmatic.
http://www.herbs2000.com/herbs/herbs_sage.htm
(of course some sages burn dirty like white sage which I do not like and also when you first burn it you should start it outdoors because the first burn is often much stronger than the continued burning).

You may also try sweetgrass. It is a very tame smell. I would also start it outside though.

These are both in their dried herb form and not in an incense stick or otherwise. Both are used for meditation and spiritual purposes.

andrew's avatar

@RedPowerLady I foolishly burnt sage in my new apartment. It’s definitely asthmatic—and my whole apartment smelled like airport Marriot for a week.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@andrew It really depends on what type of sage you burn. Some sage is honestly horrible, sounds like that is the type you got. Sorry for the bad experience. I’m not sure if you are a believer in herbal medicine or not but sage is know to be anti-asthmatic when it comes to herbal medicine, if used properly. I suppose it all is circumstantial.

YARNLADY's avatar

Please do not take chances with a child’s health. Do your meditating at a meditation center and give that poor child properly filtered air, if instructed by the pediatrician.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

I would light a tealight under a burner that has Young Living Oils (or similar medicine grade oils) if what you want is some sort of scent as you meditate. I think they even have one called “Breathe-Easy” (or something like that) which you may look into anyway…...as a possible adjunct to whatever you are using with your child.

Zen_Again's avatar

Smokeless insense? Isn’t that an oxymoron – and slightly moronic? I wouldn’t do anything that triggers asthma attacks in my kids – even if it meant just lighting an aromatherapy candle instead. Kids come first.

Joybird's avatar

We are talking about a ritual that sets the stage for quieting the mind and reflection or prayer. You can alter the ritual to something else that then remains consistant. Smoke is smoke to asthmatics…smoke as part of many rituals has lead to lung cancer in some people. I am thinking in terms of smoking Peace Pipe here but it would apply to other exposures as well.
You may want to try creating a space of favorable aroma by using systems that massage therapists use. Supply catalogues for massage therapists would be a good source. I use an oil atomizer for this purpose. It is funny how when I smell that same scent elsewhere my body instantly goes to a feeling of calm centeredness..so I wouldn’t dismiss the effects that aroma have.
Trial and error will tell you what your daughter will be able to tolerate if she can tolerate aroma at all. And if she can’t tolerate aroma you may want to use some other ritual like ring a bell repeatedly or a small chime that resonates with you…you may want to utilize colored light of some type. Just repeat the ritual the same each time.
Namaste

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