Behind the Curtain: The Mysterious Magic of Backflow Incense Burners Revealed

Nothing catapults us into a blissfully meditative state quite like watching the cascading smoke of a backflow incense burner. All the stressful encounters that got you all keyed up during the day start melting away, becoming a distant memory as your focus settles on the curls of smoke that seem to defy physics.

But your thoughts keep turning to one question during your meditation…

How on earth does this thing work? 

Featured: Incense Falls Burner

Eckhart Tolle encourages us to find peace in the chaos of everyday life by connecting to the present moment. Have you ever had difficulty meditating and quieting your racing mind? Do you find that the moment you take some time out to center yourself, your brain leaps into high gear, processing all the things that happened to you on your busy day?

If you find yourself struggling to find the gaps between your frentic thoughts, where you tap into your higher consciousness - try the practice of being in the present moment.

By taking little moments in your routine and giving them your fullest attention, you create a form of active meditation and give your racing mind something to focus on beyond your chaotic thoughts. 

And what better way to incorporate this technique into your day, than by contemplating the mysterious magic unfolding before your eyes when you watch a backflow incense burner doing its thing? 

There’s some surprising science behind the cascade. Plus, we share some helpful hints to ensure you have a voluptuous waterfall of smoke tumbling over your seated Buddha, or curling out of your majestic dragon’s nostrils every time. 

So light up an incense cone, take a deep breath, and feel peace wash over you, as you witness this powerful magic putting on an enchanting smoke show just for you...

What Sorcery Is This?

Featured: Eternal Dragon

We’re all dying to know how it works. Unlike a magician who never shares the secret to their tricks, we’re happy to welcome you to take a peek behind the curtain…

Remember learning about atmospheric pressure in high school- the theory that explains the principles of air pressure? 

Quick refresher for those sitting in the back row: Generally, any smoke produced by the combustion of something burning will rise up, as this hot air is less dense than the cool air surrounding it. So from everything logic and science have taught us, smoke should actually rise, not sink... right

Think again. Some clever engineering has allowed backflow incense burners to defy physics by creating an absence of convection effect. This is achieved in three parts: 

  1. By creating a chamber of cool, dense air below the source of the heat to attract the smoke downward.

  2. By forming a hollow in the bottom half of the incense cone to create a channel for the downward-pulling suction effect to take place. 

  3. By creating the incense cones using a high concentration of resin and essential oils (added bonus- soothing aromatherapeutic benefits!) that in turn produce a thick, heavy smoke that’s much more dense than the air surrounding it.

Featured: Monkey King

Your incense cones have a hole on the inside, that reaches from the base up to the top third. The very tip of the incense cone is solid, providing fuel to burn and create the smoke being generated.

When you light your incense cone, you’ll notice that the smoke will rise up until the burning portion works its way down to where the channel hole begins… And that’s when the magic happens. 

You’ll see the backflow effect come into its own when the burning ring reaches the channel hole that starts one-third of the way down the incense cone.

When the burning incense reaches this point, it forms a vacuum that allows the smoke to pass through the hole, also creating suction that pulls it downward. 

How Do I Ensure a Powerful Backflow?

Featured: Little Monk

To guarantee an impressive backflow effect, and the most satisfying whirls of beautiful smoke, follow our three tips for meditation session success:

  1. Create a powerhouse smoke source.
  • Holding the incense cone by the base, light up the tip. Carefully tilt it on an angle, turning the cone as the flame comes alive and allowing it to consume a bigger surface area on the cone. Be careful of your fingers while you’re doing this!  Allow the top third of your incense cone to become completely covered in the flame before blowing it out and letting it ash over. This will make sure your cone is burning powerfully and evenly, and has a large surface area that’s been ignited, to generate plenty of luscious clouds.

  • Line up the holes.
  • Ensure that the hole on the bottom of your incense cone lines up perfectly with the hold in the incense burner when you place it on top. Lining up these two holes will ensure you have the best vacuum for the convection to be interrupted, creating the effect.
  • Keep it away from drafts.
    • You’ll enjoy watching the most mesmerizing tendrils of lazily-drifting smoke, if you’re sure to position your incense burner in a draft-free area. Place your burner away from any open windows, fans and air vents that could disturb the flow of the smoke as it tumbles down onto your miniature oasis of zen.  

Featured: Arcane Dragon

Contemplate this scientific sorcery next time you’re gazing in amazement at your backflow incense burner. You might just unveil answers to all the mysteries of the universe in your newfound, blissed-out state of thoughtfulness.

Incense Falls


I know this sounds stupid, but it might be helpful to have a short video showing how to light the incense. It actually sounded very important to light it correctly for a person to get the correct burn and smoke.
I haven’t received mine yet, but want to be ready☺️

Sebastiana Lazarte May 12, 2020

I got the monk an the ocean incense its beautiful can’t wait to give it to my mom im so excited thank u ill be shopping with u guys soon an it shipped here fast

Kiersten Walker April 21, 2020

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