Moxibustion (moxa) is a Traditional Oriental therapy, which involves the burning of specific herbs (Artemesiae vulgaris) directly on the acupuncture points.

Today, moxibustion is frequently used alongside acupuncture to treat a deficiency of “yang” energy in the body.

Yang energy governs movement and warmth, and a deficiency of yang results in cold symptoms. The patient may feel cold, or may complain of cold hands and feet, incontinence, or loose stools.

Our clinic uses a couple of moxibustion techniques. The first technique, called “indirect moxibustion,” involves a special container to allow the herbs to be placed inside or on the container to prevent burning of the skin. The other technique used in our clinic is the “heating needle” technique, where a roll of dried herb (mugwort) is attached and ignited directly on the head of an acupuncture needle.

Moxibustion’s Benefits and History


The burning of dried (moxa) also commonly known to us as mugwort has a long rich history in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Mugwort has been shown in studies to help increase blood circulation. As with most ancient therapies, we can’t pinpoint exactly the date of its initial existence. Some historians say it could go as a far back as 1600 BC during the Shang dynasty. But the first appearance of recorded text book was during the Warring States Period starting in 475 B.C all the way thru the Han Dynasty era (206 BC-220 AD. These techniques also spread out to Korea and Japan around 500 A.D.

History of Western Moxibustion.

Acupuncture and Moxibustion were introduced to the western world during the middle Ages in Europe. The Europeans were heavily interested in trade with China and other eastern Asian countries between 1500’s and 1700’s. During this time many books were written on the subject of this technique. The influence of needle therapy on the western world is evident by the invention of the modern hypodermic needle from acupuncture needles.

Benefits of Moxibustion and how it works.

In the theories of Traditional Chinese Medicine Moxibustion has a duality effect of tonification and purgation on the body. By radiating heat through the meridians in the body this helps stimulate body tissue. A fascinating thing about the treatment is that studies have shown though it uses heat, it cools down the affected part of the body. So the healing workings of Moxi and heat are the same as needle therapy, which is thru Qi, not heat that the results are produced.

What are the best practices for this therapy?

  1. Indirect Moxibustion – This technique as the word describes does not make contact with the body. It uses a layer of ginseng, garlic, or other natural products to make an indirect contact with the skin.
  2. Moxa Stick Moxibustion – Spark off a moxa stick and place it 2-3 centimeters away finished the site to convey gentle warmth to the nearby area, in the range of 15 minutes until the point that the skin turns out to be somewhat red. It is reasonable for every one of the illnesses that it treats. Another way with the sticks is the Sparrow-pecking. In this strategy, the ignited moxa stick is shifted up and down like a bird pecking. You can also do a circulating motion, we use this one for pain in the extremities.
  3. Acupuncture and Moxibustion – This technique works after the entry of qi and with the needle held in the point, get a little area of a moxa stick (about 2 cm long) and put on the handle of the needle; light the moxa stick from its base and let it wear out. This strategy has the capacity of warming the meridians and advancing the stream of Qi and blood.

These are the most popular methods there are a few more out there. I hope this article helped you understand this ancient healing method.

For moxibusion rates click here.

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