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Moxibustion

6:07 pm 22 August 2022 Christine-Shen 0 Comments

This may lead to localized scarring and blisters.  Non-scarring moxa allows for the moxa to be placed on the acupuncture point, lit, extinguished and removed before it burns the skin.  

Non-scarring moxibustion creates a pleasant heating sensation that penetrates deeply into the skin but does not create a scar or pain.  Indirect moxibustion is the more popular of the forms.  In indirect moxibustion, a practitioner lights one end of a moxa stick and holds it close to the acupuncture point for several minutes until the area turns red. 

Moxibustion is used to help people with cold or stagnant conditions.  Burning moxa is believed to expel cold and warm the energetic meridians, which creates the smooth flow of Qi and blood.  Moxibustion also supports the yang energy, strengthening and increasing the original Qi.  Moxibustion can treat many conditions, including back pain, muscle stiffness, headaches, tendonitis, arthritis, digestive disorders, anxiety, menstrual cramps, irregular periods and infertility.  Moxibustion is not recommended for diabetic patients since they have decreased sensitivity to pain and compromised circulation. 

Moxibustion is very effectively used in patients that have a cold constitution.  Many chronic conditions, even the ones that manifest as heat conditions, can have a chronic cold as the underlying situation.  A cold figure is triggered or aggravated by overcooling the body systems.  Technological advances expose our bodies to cold much faster than in the past.  Things like refrigeration, air-conditioning, iced beverages and even ice cream have created a society of people with cold constitutions.  Also, many pharmaceutical drugs, including over-the-counter pain medications, decrease body temperature.  Large consumption of fruits and raw vegetables and ongoing mental and emotional stress can create cold constitutions.  Therefore using moxibustion is frequently warranted in treating many illnesses and diseases. 

Moxibustion on the acupuncture point Stomach 36 also has the function of preventing diseases and maintaining health.  In ancient China, this technique was known as reverse moxibustion.  Even if a person is relatively healthy, regular moxibustion on this point can invigorate healthy Qi and strengthen the immune system, thus increasing longevity.  Perhaps this is why the “longevity point” has been nicknamed. 

What is moxibustion used for, and what are the benefits?

Moxibustion acts as an outstanding balance with acupuncture to boost treatment results. It

improves overall Qi and bloodstream. The nature of Moxa is bitter, sour and hot, validating its

healing properties to expel cold, remove moisture, stimulate acupuncture points and promote

energy circulation. Moxibustion is a traditional healing method that has been long used for centuries

to prevent diseases, trigger the body's natural healing response, strengthen immunity, and improve

the functions of the organs.

Clinically, it has been commonly used for:

• Pain management

• Digestive problems: Gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS),

constipation, diarrhea, etc.

• Weight management

• Breech babies

• Female health problems: irregular menstrual cycle, infertility, bleeding from the uterus, etc.

• Male health challenges: low sperm count and motility.

• Insomnia

In Classical Chinese Medicine (TCM), several body constitutions are suitable to consider for moxibustion treatment:

1. Deficiency in Yang

2. Phlegm and dampness

3. Qi and blood stagnancy.

Weakness in Yang:

Individuals may have cool extremities (hands and feet), slow metabolism, lack of motivational

energy, and less menstrual flow for women.

Phlegm & Humidity:

A person may have a slow metabolism, indigestion, abdominal bloating, loose stools, preferring

sweet and fatty foods, and excessive secretion of sebum on the face and scalp.

Stagnations of Qi and Blood:

Painful menstrual cramps, clots, emotional anxiety, feeling irritated, frustrated, easily triggered by

stress, dull complexion, poor digestive function, and poor sleep quality.

How do doctors traditionally do this in clinical settings?


Direct moxibustion

• Moxa wool is rolled into rice wire and placed directly on the face accounts for direct ignition.


Indirect moxibustion

• The Moxa wood shipping box holds pre-cut Moxa sticks, which are then placed on the skin surfaces

for moxibustion treatment.

• Buffers such as salt, ginger and garlic are placed in the belly button before cone-shaped Moxa wool

is placed on top for moxibustion treatment.

• The Moxa needle is a method where a predefined Moxa stick is attached directly to the tip of the

acupuncture needle for hot Moxa needle treatment.

Is moxibustion painful?

Moxibustion is a penetrative heat therapy with medicinal values. When it is used on its own, the

patient will feel warm at the application site. Throughout the session, the patient will usually feel

relaxed and comfortable.

As with acupuncture, only a licensed practitioner should be called upon for treatments such as moxibustion.  If you believe that moxibustion may be helpful with your medical conditions, be sure to discuss it with your acupuncturist. 


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