WHAT IS MOXA/ MOXIBUSTION?
Get to know more about our Moxibustion treatment performed by our Traditional Chinese Medicine Specialist Guru Helen Fa!
Moxibustion or Moxa is a traditional Chinese medicine technique that involves burning a herb called Mugwort, to promote healing. Moxibustion has been used throughout Asia for thousands of years. The purpose of moxa is to stimulate the flow of 'qi' (our body's vital energy), blood and maintain general health.
3 Ways of Administering Moxa
There are several different ways for a practitioner to administer moxa. At Flint + Flint, we use the Machine/box/can explained below.
- Moxa stick – is one form of moxa. A practitioner lights one end of a moxa stick, about the shape and size of a cigar, and holds it close to the area being treated for several minutes until the area turns red. (Similar to coming out of a hot shower)
- With a needle – Another form of moxa uses both acupuncture needles and moxa. A needle is inserted into an acupuncture point and retained. The handle 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) remain in for the duration of the treatment.
- Burnt loose in a can or box – In this form we use is a special can or box filled with moxa that is then lit. Once lit, it slowly smolders in the container, releasing heat. The container is wrapped in a towel, to control the amount of heat the patient feels.
What is Moxibustion used to treat?
Generally, practitioners use moxa to warm body regions and acupuncture points along the meridians (channels within our body). The moxa then stimulates circulation and activates a smoother flow of qi and blood, along with stimulating the internal systems (digestive, respiratory, etc) and boosting our overall immune function.
- Pain: In Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective, external cold can get trapped in our bodies. The result of that can be increased pain in our joints and muscles. A very common use of moxa is to place the moxa can or box on the affected area, warming it in a way that a hot bath, cannot - Because of how the moxa works, it penetrates at a much deeper level. A moxa stick can also be used in the same way.
- Coughs and other respiratory problems: Since our coughs are much more prevalent in the winter, i.e. during the cold, moxa is really effective in moving the qi and stagnation in the lungs to clear up the nagging and hacking coughs. It can also be used preventatively in order to prevent seasonal allergies and future illness.
- Digestive symptoms: Since the heat from the Moxa stimulates the digestive system, it is effective in helping with constipation, IBS, and digestion in general.
- Menstrual cramps: Moxa is really effective in relieving menstrual cramps and irregular cycles. Many common activities can cause cold to become trapped in the uterus, like wearing shorts or skirts in cooler weather. Moxa can reverse these effects.
- And More!: Moxa can have an impact on many internal medicine issues also. Sometimes clients end up with a recalcitrant symptom that hasn’t responded to many different approaches. There’s a point on the upper back between the shoulder blades that an ancient Chinese medical text that claims when moxabustion is performed, “there is no disorder that it cannot treat”. It’s worth a try!
One way to use Moxabustion is used, is to turn breached babies by burning moxa on a point on the mother’s little toe. You learn something new every day!
Points are taken from the article: https://www.riverwestacupuncture.com/posts/what-is-moxa/