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How to Use Backflow Incense Burners: Waterfall Incense Burners Explained

By Maggie 16 June 2021
Reading works meditatively, relax 7 minuten with this article.
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Are you familiar with the magical Incense Waterfall? With this hypnotic burner the smoke streams in the wrong direction; it flows downwards. But how do backflow incense burners work? We’ll explain that to you here!

backflow burner

The Incense Waterfall, also known as a Backflow Burner, is a ceramic holder with which special incense cones are used. When you light these cones, the smoke glides along the burner to the bottom. It looks like a mountain with a streaming waterfall. Pretty cool!

You would probably expect there to be a special vacuum element in this burner to create the flowing effect, but that isn’t the case at all! Ceramic, incense, and a little bit of magic from mother nature are all that it takes.  Are you curious about how the backflow occurs and why backflow burners  are so unbelievably relaxing? Here is everything you need to know so that you can enjoy the rippling flow of an incense waterfall for yourself.

backflow incense burner close up incense cone

Incense Waterfalls: How do they work?

Have you ever asked yourself: how does backflow incense work? We’ll share all of its secrets with you. The backflow burner uses a simple natural phenomenon. There is no trickery needed to produce the effect, just special incense cones with a small hole in the bottom.  The waterfall is created through the use of these particular cones and the special design of the burner. So exactly how do backflow incense cones work? Incense Waterfall cones are partially drilled through from the bottom to just under the tip. This causes the smoke to stream back down through the cone instead of upwards. The ceramic burner has a small hole in the top where the smoke can slip through and cascade down to the bottom. But to understand how that works, we’ll need a little review of physics!

backflow incense cones colorful mix pile

How Does an Incense Waterfall Work?

As you probably know, warm air is released when incense is burned. Normally, because of the difference in air pressure between the warm air produced by the burning incense and the air around it, the warm air rises and carries the smoke away with it. Since the backflow cones are hollow, cool air from inside the burner reaches the smoke as well. This cool air pulls the smoke downwards through the hole in the burner which creates the waterfall effect.

top detail close-up back flow burner

How Long do Backflow Incense Cones Burn?

The burn time of the special incense waterfall cones differ from normal incense cones. The period of smoke production is shorter, due to the fact that they are hollow. Because of this you can enjoy their spectacular waterfall effect for about 10 to 15 minutes. These cones also create a heavier, thicker smoke than the smoke produced by traditional incense cones. The density of the smoke of course enhances the dramatic visual effect.

incense waterfall cones mix
What Are Backflow Burners Made From?

Backflow incense burners are usually made from ceramic or porcelain. They are little pieces of art that reflect the smoke in their high gloss glazed finish. This reflection creates the illusion of a sparkling waterfall so enchanting that you will almost forget that you’re looking at a ceramic backflow burner instead of the real thing!

Incense Waterfall Shop

Backflow incense burners come in many varieties, often with Asian motifs like a lotus, dragon, or Ganesha. The special backflow incense cones are available in different scents, each with their own symbolic meaning. Of course, the waterfall is in itself a very inspiring sight!

backflow incense burner waterfall smoke

Spiritual Meaning of an Incense Waterfall

Many cultures attach special meaning to waterfalls. They often stand for refreshment. The cascading water is interpreted as washing away negative energy. In this way the waterfall helps us to let go of problems, people, negative feelings, and difficult circumstances. For many people waterfalls are a source of inspiration and relaxing surrender.  In addition to this, backflow burners utilize all four elements: ceramic comes from the earth, fire and air are needed for the combustion of the cone, and the smoke symbolizes water. Full harmony!

Meditation with a Backflow Incense Burner

The incense waterfall produces calm and rippling smoke. It has a very soothing effect on many people, so it isn’t surprising that waterfall burners are often used for meditation. An example of mediation with the backflow burner is to simply stare into the flowing smoke as a concentration exercise.  You could also light the incense in your meditation space and with your eyes closed, try to visualize the waterfall. This utilizes the more symbolic aspects of the burner. Of course you can also just choose your favorite aroma and enjoy the fragrance for a few moments.

backflow waterfall incense burner held in hand


Before You Use a Backflow Incense Burner

There are a few things that you need to pay special attention to when using a backflow incense burner compared to when you burn an incense stick. Just like any other holder it is important to place your burner on a fire resistant surface, but in the case of a backflow burner an extra saucer is advised. Some of the backflow incense cones release some color while they are burning; an extra saucer will protect your furniture. To ensure the maximal cascading effect of the smoke, an incense waterfall can best be enjoyed in an environment with little or no draft. Otherwise the smoke creates white water rapids instead!  Lighting the cone is also a bit different.

How do you light backflow incense?

  • Place the incense waterfall in a draft free space on a fire resistant saucer
  • Set tongs and a cup of water near by
  • Grab your backflow incense cone and hold it slightly tilted
  • Light the top of the cone
  • Wait until the tip is burning well
  • Blow out the flame
  • Place the cone on your backflow burner
  • Once the hollow part begins to burn, enjoy the sight of the smoke

Do you need to put it out before the cone is fully burned? Then use the tong to place the cone in the water.

Is the cone fully burned? Dampen the ash to ensure that it is fully out.

Discover Our Backflow Incense Burners

four backflow incense cones in a row

How to Create Ambiance with Your Incense Waterfall

Backflow burners are truly eye catchers in your interior. Wherever they are placed, you can find yourself falling under their hypnotic spell. Because of their visual appeal you can best place them in a prominent place, for example:

    • on your own altar
    • in your medication space
    • on your toilet
    • in the bedroom

On your own altar

Backflow burners are a symbol of water energy and yet at the same time, they represent all of the elements in unity. You can play with these ideas yourself while creating your own spiritual space, for example a Wiccan Altar. Or maybe you want to introduce Feng Shui into your living room. The Backflow Burner also has many of these qualities such as, a soft reflective surface, rounded forms, and calmly swirling smoke for relaxation. All of these are important to Feng Shui

In Your Meditation Space

Incense waterfall burners are a point of relaxation during meditation. You can use them for their aroma or as a concentration point while meditating. Cones burn for about 15 minutes, a perfect amount of time to challenge yourself with quiet contemplation.

On the Toilet

Waterfalls are a symbol of letting go and who doesn’t want a nice fragrance here? One plus One equals Two in this case!

Still not convinced?

Is a Backflow Incense Burner not for you? Then try one of our other types of incense with an appropriate burner. There are many types to choose from, like the traditional sticks. Perhaps the holy wood of Palo Santo will appeal to you, or maybe try purifying your house with White Sage. There are plenty of ways to use fragrance and incense for your own happiness.

How Relaxing!

Last modification on 17 November, 2021 8:46 am

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