In shamanic traditions all over the world there are ceremonies of purification that are done before any healing work is attempted. Some have ritual baths with cleansing and purifying oils, some utilize mists of Holy Water, some use aromatherapy massages and some use smudges. I like all of them, but out of all of them my favorite is the smudge.
The smudge is the process by which we bring the smoke of a medicine plant or an incense through our energy field, like having a smoke bath. This purifies the energy field and prepares both the healer and the one being healed for the healing ceremony. I have a few favorites when it comes to smudging as well. The photo here is of a bundle of sage that is lit and smoking. I also use sweet grass at times. Most often I use an incense as my work is done predominantly indoors and the incense is less obtrusive when it comes to scent and smoke levels. After all, we don't want to set off any smoke alarms! The incenses that are most effective I find are Shamans wood, Sandalwood, Cedar, and Dragon's Blood. Each has particular qualities that prepare the energies in specific ways depending upon the purpose of the ceremony and what is being healed.
Smudge is also used at times during the healing to help draw out negative energies from the aura. As it draws the negative energies out, it also prepares the aura for the infusion of positive energies. Smudge can also be used for personal health maintenance. When we begin our day with a smudge, our energy fields ward off unwanted energies throughout the day. If we have a particularly difficult day, a smudge when we arrive home helps to release toxic energies and settles us into our home life. This helps maintain the harmony and peace in our surroundings, be it at work or at home.