5 health & wellness benefits of burning candles
Many of us are familiar with the simple joy of lighting a candle. However, did you know the benefits of candles extend beyond this feeling? Read on to discover five health and wellness benefits of burning candles...
1. Candles can benefit memory recall and focus
Research has shown that scent is a powerful tool in triggering memories. For this reason, candles can be used to help you remember certain memories. Try lighting up a candle with a scent reminiscent of your youth and let the nostalgic memories come flooding back!
This property also makes candles a useful tool in studying or working: by burning the same scented candle every day when you sit down to be productive, you can trigger your mind and body to go into 'work mode' much faster, as you will associate productivity with that particular scent.
2. Fire's warmth and security tap into our evolutionary past
Ever wondered why fire makes you feel warm and secure? It might be because of our evolutionary past. Back in the days before electricity, our primal instincts made us long for the presence of a fire. This is because a fire was a symbol of safety, warmth, and security.
Despite having other sources of light, warmth and security in our modern lives, this primal instinct remains inside of us. By lighting a candle and gazing into its flame, you are triggering deep, inner feelings of positivity and safety.
3. Fire is meditative and encourages mindfulness
Candle flames have long since been used as a tool in meditation and mindfulness practices. According to Mind Valley, candle meditation, also known as Trakata Meditation, has been around since candles were invented 3000 years BC. Before that, its origins date back to the first time a human being stared into a fire.
The use of fire in meditation stems down to the hypnotic quality of a flickering flame, which can quickly mesmerize us into a trance. By staring into a fire, we are encouraged to live in the present moment and clear our chattering minds of racing thoughts.
4. Candles have benefits for mood and depression
Certain scents have been found to improve mood and reduce the symptoms of depression. A Japanese study conducted on 12 participants who were experiencing depression found that the smell of lemon helped participants to lower their dosage of antidepressants. The scent also boosted their immune function and regulated hormone levels.
If you're looking to boost your mood, try burning a candle with an uplifting citrus scent, like lemon, lime, or mandarin. We love the pure soy wax Lemon and Mandarin Candle from The English Soap Company (£9.95).
5. Burning a candle before bed can benefit sleep
Lighting a candle before you hit the hay is a great addition to any bedtime routine. This is because the candle flame creates cosy, ambient lighting. Also, if you choose a candle with a relaxing scent like lavender, jasmine, or bergamot, you can reap some aromatherapy benefits too! We recommend the Perfect Night's Sleep candle from Neom Organics (£32), which is infused with 19 relaxing botanicals, including lavender, jasmine and basil.
Safety note: Always extinguish your candle before you go to bed. Never leave a candle burning overnight!
6. Health benefits of candles include lowering blood pressure
Do you often feel more relaxed after lighting a candle? Research has shown that the presence of a candle flame (especially one with a 'relaxing' aromatherapy scent) can reduce stress and subsequently lower blood pressure.
A study by Dr. Gary E. Schwartz, a professor of psychology and psychiatry at Yale University, suggests that some aromatherapy candles can help temporarily lower blood pressure. When stressed out volunteers were exposed to certain scented candles, their blood pressure dropped an average of three to five points, a reduction comparable to an extended meditation session.
Interestingly, the smell of spiced apple was found to be particularly effective. Try the Spiced Apple Soy Candle from Valley Mill (£17.95), which is handmade in Wales and features a crackling wooden wick.
7. Candles have health benefits for those with anxiety
Similar to a candle's ability to improve mood and ease depression, research has also shown that candles can effectively ease the symptoms of anxiety.
A study, conducted by Kang-Ming Chang and Chuh-Wei Shen, investigated the effect of bergamot aromatherapy sprays on those experiencing anxiety. They found that the parasympathetic nervous system was enhanced and autonomic nervous activity was driven toward a balanced state. Subjects with moderate and high degrees of anxiety benefited more than the light anxiety group.
If you suffer from anxiety, try burning an aromatherapy candle with bergamot essential oils. We love the CALM candle from SHED Candles (£12.50), which features soothing notes of bergamot and lavender.