Moxibustion is an alternative therapy that involves burning herbs and applying the resulting heat to specific points on the body. It is the process whereby a stick or cone of burning mugwort is placed either directly on the skin or indirectly above the skin, over inflamed and affected areas of the body. When lit, moxa sticks burns slowly and provides a penetrating heat that can enter the meridian channels to stimulate the flow of energy, strengthen the blood flow, therefore releasing therapeutic properties and helping maintain general health.
Types of Moxibustion
- Indirect Moxibustion:
It is the more popular form of moxibustion because there is a much lower risk of pain or burning. Indirect moxibustion is that practitioner lights one end of a moxa stick (roughly the shape and size of a cigar) and holds it an inch or two away from the skin until the skin becomes slightly red. The intensity of the heat is adjusted according to the patient’s condition and comfort.
Indirect moxa is considered to induce a gradual localized vasodilatation response. In addition to increasing the local blood flow, skillful indirect moxibustion is extremely comforting and can create a deep relaxation response.
- Direct Moxibustion:
A small, cone-shaped amount of moxa is placed on top of an acupuncture point and burned on the skin.
Since this technique can cause pain and scarring, direct moxibustion is no longer used very often.
- Needle Moxa Technique:
With the needle moxa technique, the heat intensity is much harder to control . This technique uses both acupuncture needles and moxa sticks. A needle is inserted into an acupoint and retained. A small stick of mugwort is attached to the tip of acupuncture needle and ignited. The needle transfers the heat to the acupuncture point and the surrounding area. After the desired effect is achieved, the moxa is extinguished and the needle is removed.
Is Moxibustion considered a safe practice?
Moxibustion is completely safe, but shouldn’t be used if you have a hot or warm condition. A qualified practitioner will be able to diagnose your condition and classify it so that you’ll receive moxibustion only when you need it.
Because moxibustion often includes the burning of mugwort sticks, patients who have respiratory problems should use smokeless moxa sticks instead of smoking moxa sticks. In our clinic, we always use smokeless moxa sticks.
What can be treated by Moxibustion?
Moxibustion can help treat the following health problems:
- Back Pain
- Muscle Stiffness
- Menstrual Cramps
- Digestive Problems
- Irregular Periods
- Breech Presentation