Moxibustion is a traditional Chinese Medicine practice that uses the herb “Mugwort” which is also known as Artemisia vulgaris or Ai Ye in Chinese Herbal Medicine. The herb has the property of being warming and it increases the blood flow with the use of heat therapy.
Moxibustion is the use of heat therapy which is applied to increase the movement of Qi and blood through the meridians, strengthen the blood and improve a person’s overall health and vitality. A Practitioner may use either direct or indirect Moxa on a client. Moxa is applied to Acupuncture points or to areas of blockages or pain.
Direct Moxa, involves the herb being rolled up into a cone and placed directly onto the skin. The moxa is then light with an incense stick and burned down to approximately ¾ of the cone, then removed. A client should begin to feel the heat penetrate into the skin. One or up to 20 cones may be used on an acupuncture point to achieve the desired outcome. (I.e. heat and redness to the area).
Indirect moxa, is the use of moxa which is not placed directly onto the skin. A practitioner may use a cone of moxa placed onto the top of an acupuncture needle, which enables the heat to penetrate straight down the needle and into the surrounding area. Or, a moxa stick may be light and held about an inch away from the skins surface, for approximately 7 minutes until the area feels warm and shows redness.
Traditionally moxa is used to treat pain which can be caused due to “cold” conditions, or due to arthritis. It has also been used to turn breech babies from a breech position to an engaged position ( i.e. head down into the pelvic cavity) prior to birth. Research has shown that Mugwort acts as an emmenagogue ¬ that is, an agent that increases blood circulation to the pelvic area and uterus and stimulates menstruation. This could explain its use in treating breech births and menstrual cramps.
A landmark study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1998 found that up to 75% of women suffering from breech presentations before childbirth had fetuses that rotated to the normal position after receiving moxibustion at an acupuncture point on the Bladder meridian. Other studies have shown that moxibustion increases the movement of the fetus in pregnant women, and may reduce the symptoms of menstrual cramps when used in conjunction with traditional acupuncture.
Benefits of Moxibustion
• Pain relief – in injuries or due to arthritis, it is particularly good for conditions where the pain feels better with the use of heat application
• In “cold” conditions – causing blockages, the use of heat treatment moves the blockage and allows theccc blood and qi to return to normal flow
• Strengthens the blood, improves qi and blood flow
• In repositioning the fetus in Breech conditions
• To strengthen a person immunity
• to aid with anemia in pregnancy
Moxa is traditionally used in combination with acupuncture. A practitioner may also send you home with a Moxa stick to use at home, especially in Pregnancy with Breech conditions.
The smell of Moxa is quite pungent and a lot of smoke can be released. If you suffer from respiratory disorders, please advice your practitioner, as Moxa may not be suitable for you.