What is Moxibustion Therapy?
Moxibustion is a traditional Chinese medicine technique that involves the burning of mugwort, a soft, wooly substance prepared from mugwort leaves, to facilitate healing. The purpose of moxibustion is to strengthen the blood, stimulate the flow of qi and maintain general health by drawing out toxins.
How does moxibustion work?
The moxa is placed on the point and lit, but is extinguished or removed before it burns the skin. The patient will experience a pleasant heating sensation that penetrates deep into the skin. Alternatively, the 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. Another form of indirect moxibustion uses both acupuncture needles and moxa. A needle is inserted into an acupoint and retained. The tip 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) removed.
What is moxibustion used for?
In traditional Chinese medicine, moxibustion is used on people who have a cold or stagnant condition. The burning of moxa is believed to expel cold and warm the meridians, which leads to smoother flow of blood and qi. In Western medicine, moxibustion has successfully been used to turn breech babies into a normal head-down position prior to childbirth. Other studies have shown that moxibustion increases the movement of the foetus in pregnant women, and may reduce the symptoms of menstrual cramps when used in conjunction with traditional acupuncture.