Moxibustion is an indirect warming technique used to stimulate acupuncture points and promote temperature balance in the body and facilitate healing by strengthening the blood, stimulating the flow of qi, and helping to maintain general health.
Moxa is made of the herb mugwort and is lit to create a warming tool. Our office uses two types of indirect (not touching the skin) moxibustion- stick and needle moxa. With stick moxa, 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 warm. 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.
Moxa should feel pleasantly warm and the patient may experience a radiating warmth that lasts beyond the treatment itself. Be sure to tell your practitioner if the level of warmth feels uncomfortable during your treatment.
When is moxibustion used?
In traditional Chinese medicine, moxibustion is used on people who have a cold or stagnant condition. The burning of moxa is believed to expel cold and warm the meridians, which leads to smoother flow of blood and qi. Studies have shown that moxibustion can be helpful in optimizing fetal positioning in women with breech presentation and may reduce the symptoms of menstrual cramps when used in conjunction with traditional acupuncture.