Moxibustion is a TCM technique that involves the burning of mugwort, a small spongy herb, to facilitate healing. Moxibustion has been used throughout Asia for thousands of years. In fact, the actual Chinese character for acupuncture, when translated literally, means “acupuncture-moxibustion”. The purpose of Moxibustion, as with most forms of TCM, is to strengthen the blood, stimulate the flow of Qi, and maintain general health.
There are two types of Moxibustion – Direct and Indirect.
During Direct Moxibustion, a very small, cone-shaped amount of moxa is placed over a slice of garlic or ginger that acts as an insulation between the skin and the burning herb. The garlic and ginger have healing and warming properties of their own which aids the treatment. The moxa may also be placed on a small and circular sticker in order to reduce the temperature/heat, preventing scarring after the treatment. These stickers can identify the location of the acu-points as well.
For Indirect Moxibustion, the usual method is to attach a small wad of moxa to the end of an acupuncture needle that has been inserted into the relevant point. Once the moxa is lit, the warmth produced travels down the needle and into the point, with no pain, blistering or scarring. Another form of Indirect Moxibustion is to light one end of a moxa stick, and holds it close to the area being treated for several minutes until the area turns red. This method can be used by the layperson for general pain relief and well-being.
*Moxibustion is not to be used for conditions of heat, including fever, inflammation, high blood pressure and heart problems.
Moxibustion is considered a safe and effective traditional therapy, and large numbers of clinical reports have indicated that it is effective and associated with few adverse events.