What is Moxibustion?

Moxibustion is the burning of an herb called Mugwort. The herb, or moxa, can take many forms, including cigar-like moxa rolls, raw rice grain size pieces, and compressed smokeless sticks and cones. In Traditional Chines...e Medicine, Mugwort is considered to be warm, acrid, and bitter when used in herbal prescriptions. When burnt, it has similar properties and, thus, its warming nature is useful for helping to expel cold and damp from the body as well as warming the body’s channels. The bitter and acrid aspects of Mugwort help to break stagnation, clear phlegm, and rectify the qi and blood. Moxibustion can be considered to be a parallel therapy to acupuncture, being used to stimulate qi flow at points on the body that are selected for their specific function. There are two forms of moxibustion – direct and indirect.
How Moxibustion is Performed
The raw moxa can be burnt as rice grain sized pieces directly on acupuncture points in order to stimulate the function of the point. It can be burnt over the point as a moxa roll in order to indirectly warm the point and meridian. Moxa can be placed in a moxa box in order to warm an area such as the lower abdomen or the back. It can also be rubbed along the meridian in a lion or tiger warmer or placed on the end of an inserted acupuncture needle in order to strengthen the stimulation of an acupuncture point.
Direct moxibustion is used to stimulate specific points or, in scarring moxibustion, a point is burnt so that it is continuously stimulated by the healing process. Indirect moxibustion is used when a larger area such as a meridian or muscle group is to be treated. It is also preferred in the treatment of children. Special techniques such as burning moxa on ginger or salt can be used. There is no need to be concerned about the burning factor of the moxibustion therapy as it is very safe when performed by a qualified and skilled practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Some points on the body are not suitable for moxibustion due to the risk of swelling or dizziness but the practitioner will assess any risk factors before proceeding with the treatment.
What Moxibustion can treat
Moxibustion therapy is useful for many disorders including:
digestive disorders such as diarrhea or food stagnation
painful periods
sexual dysfunction
poor concentration or memory
sports injuries
frozen shoulders
pain that worsens with cold
colds and flu