FAQs about Moxibustion
In traditional Chinese medicine, qi (pronounced chee) is the life force, the flow of energy throughout the body. Acupuncturists attempt to regulate qi through a variety of treatments, including acupuncture, cupping, and moxibustion.
Moxibustion is part of a holistic approach to overall health. Acupuncturists believe in treating the whole person, and in doing so, they consider factors beyond the presentation of symptoms of disease. Eastern philosophies believe in preventive treatments that encourage overall health and wellness. This is often strange to those whose only experience is the reactionary method of Western medicine.
However, these two philosophies are beginning to mesh. More and more, you find doctors stressing the importance of a healthy lifestyle to prevent chronic illness and disease. Combining Eastern and Western medical ideologies represents an effective approach to health.
What is Moxibustion?
Moxibustion is a type of heat treatment employed to warm and improve the flow of qi and invigorate blood flow throughout the body.
Treatment involves heating dried plants called “moxa,” typically comprised of Chinese mugwort, a leafy plant
sometimes brewed into a tea for its homeopathic properties.In moxibustion, the mugwort is dried and aged, and used in a variety of forms, including rods shaped like small cigars, powders, and cones similar to incense cones. Your acupuncturist burns the moxa, either directly or indirectly on the skin, at acupressure points.
What does Moxibustion Treat?
Acupuncturists use moxibustion to treat a variety of issues, as well as to prevent them. This includes conditions in which patients feel better with the application of heat, such as arthritis. It also treats digestive issues.
In women, moxibustion helps with a number of gynecological issues, including painful periods and even breech presentation during pregnancy.
Other conditions treatable or preventable with moxibustion include:
- Back pain
- Cancer and cancer treatments
- Colds and flu
- Headaches and migraines
- Injuries due to trauma
- Memory problems
- Neck pain
- Poor concentration
- Sexual dysfunction
- Stiff or sore muscles
Your acupuncturist may perform both moxibustion and acupuncture within the same session, as each is more effective when combined with the other.
What does Moxibustion Involve?
The three main types of moxibustion are scarring, direct non-scarring, and indirect. U.S. acupuncturists typically employ indirect moxibustion.
Scarring moxibustion involves placing a small cone of moxa directly on the skin, at the appropriate acupuncture point. The acupuncturist allows the moxa to burn all the way to the skin, until the skin blisters. In direct non-scarring moxibustion, the acupuncturist removes the moxa cone before the skin burns enough to blister and leave a scar.
Indirect moxibustion never touches the skin. The acupuncturist may burn sticks of moxa near acupuncture points to heat them, holding the burning stick an inch or two above the skin until the area becomes warm and red. Alternatively, he or she may burn them to heat acupuncture needles after they’ve been inserted into the skin.
Typically, patients feel a flood of warmth to the treatment area that then radiates along the treatment pathway. This indicates a reinvigorated flow of qi.
If you are interested in learning more about moxibustion, or would like to include it in your holistic approach to wellness, contact us today.