Jenny Kwon Chinese Medicine Clinic

Moxibustion

Moxibustion (or moxa for short) is another traditional Chinese medicine practice that involves the application of heat resulting from the burning of mugwort, a small, spongy herb or moxa.

It is used in conjunction with acupuncture, acupressure, cupping and Chinese herbal medicine. The purpose of moxa, as with most forms of traditional Chinese medicine, is to stimulate acupoints in order to promote the body's ability to heal itself. The radiant heat produced by moxa penetrates deeply into the body, restoring the balance and flow of qi and maintain general health.

There are three types of moxa

  1. In direct moxa, a small cone-shaped of moxa directly on the skin at the acupuncture point and lights it up and until the moxa cone burns out, more than one cone of moxa may be applied as treatment plan requires. Direct moxa is a traditional technique considered to be very effective especially on particular acute situations and for the on going promotion of immune system. However, direct moxa needs to be handled with extra care and patient should be well informed as it may have some undesirable effects such as blistering, burn marks, and even scarring at the moxa site after the treatment.
  2. Indirect moxa is currently the more popular form of care because there is a much lower risk of pain or burning. 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 turns red. Indirect moxa is relaxing and comfortable and suitable for all ages.
  3. Needle moxa uses both acupuncture needles and moxa. A lit up stick-shaped of moxa attached onto an inserted needle, the heat travels through the needle into deeper layer soft tissues. This technique is being used for chronic deficiency conditions and obstinate pain syndromes.

Moxibustion may have profound physical and chemical effect on the body, and it is not limited to relieving pains but may use in other conditions to improve immunity and promoting the flow of the blood and lymph.

Although moxibustion has been safely used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries, it is not for everyone. Because it is used specifically for patients suffering from cold or stagnant constitutions, it should not be used on anyone diagnosed with too much heat. Burning moxa also produces a great deal of smoke and a pungent odour. Patients with respiratory problems may request that their practitioner use smokeless moxa sticks as an alternative.