Moxibustion Therapy

What is Moxibustion Therapy?

Moxibustion is a traditional Chinese medicine technique that involves the burning of a Chinese herb called mug-wort, a small, spongy herb, to facilitate healing. Moxibustion has been used throughout Asia for thousands of years; in fact, the actual Chinese character for acupuncture, translated literally, means "acupuncture-moxibustion." The purpose of moxibustion, as with most forms of traditional Chinese medicine, is to strengthen the blood, stimulate the flow of Qi, warm the meridian and thereby promoting and maintaining good health.

How does moxibustion work? Does it hurt?

With direct moxibustion treatment, the "moxa" is placed on the point and lit. It is extinguished or removed before it reaches the skin. The patient will experience a pleasant warming sensation that penetrates deep into the skin. Moxibustion is a popular form of care as it is not only pleasant but yields good results in treatment, particularly during the damp and colder seasons. In indirect moxibustion, a practitioner lights one end of a moxa stick, roughly the shape and size of a cigar, and holds it close to the area being treated for several minutes until the area is warmed. Another form of indirect moxibustion uses both acupuncture needles and moxa. A needle is inserted into an acupoint and retained. The tip of the needle is then wrapped in moxa and ignited, generating heat to the point and the surrounding area. After the desired effect is achieved, the moxa is extinguished and the needle(s) removed.

Are there any precautions I should be aware of?

Although moxibustion has been safely used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries, it is not for everyone. It is used specifically for patients suffering from cold or stagnant conditions and not recommended for anyone diagnosed with "heat conditions" (external pathogenic factors, often the underlying cause of disease in the body, recognized in the Eight Principal Acupuncture tradition).

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