Moxibustion is a form of fire heat treatment that stimulates specific acupuncture points of the body. This technique involves the burning of mugwort, also known as artemesia vulgaris or ai ye in Chinese.
There are various moxibustion techniques
Direct moxibustion: A small, cone-shaped amount of moxa is placed on top of an acupuncture point and burned on the skin. Direct moxibustion is a traditional technique considered to be very effective. Nowadays, this kind of direct moxibustion is less and less performed as it may have some undesirable effects such as blistering, burn marks, and even scarring at the moxibustion site. In an attempt to prevent skin damage, some acupuncturists place a medium (slice of ginger, garlic, etc.) between the skin and the burning moxa or extinguish the burning moxa just before it reaches the skin.
Indirect moxibustion : this technique is currently the more popular form of care because there is a much lower risk of pain or burning. 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. The intensity of the heat is adjusted according to the patient’s condition and comfort. 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.
It is very effective for many diseases and conditions including back pain, muscle stiffness, headaches, migraines, tendonitis, arthritis, digestive disorders, anxiety, and women health problems such as menstrual cramps, irregular periods, and infertility.