Moxibustion is an important therapy in Traditional Chinese Medicine, along with acupuncture, herbal medicine, and dietary therapy. Also called ‘moxa’ for short, the therapy involves the burning of dried mugwort (artemesiae Vulgaris, or ai ye in Chinese), through several different methods. Mugwort, in both Eastern and Western medicine, is believed to have the properties that help increase blood circulation and promote the ability for the body to heal itself.
Like acupuncture, moxa is used along the meridians, to warm the points, clear stagnation, and tonify organ and system deficiencies. It can sometimes be combined with acupuncture treatments to help enhance the benefits of both modalities. But used alone, moxibustion is a beneficial therapy in itself.
Moxa come in different shapes and sizes. Most commonly, dried moxa is rolled tightly into a cigar-like stick, but it can come in loose, smokeless or cone forms. Moxa can be applied through direct or indirect methods.
In the United States, indirect moxa, over the skin, or on top of an acupuncture needle is the most common therapy.
Because Moxa is believed to help stimulate qi and blood circulation, promote warmth and expel cold in the body, moxibustion is recommended in conditions such as pain, digestive, and menstrual cramps caused by cold conditions, Moxibustion is also known to help promote the body to turn breech babies.
Patients with excessive heat conditions, and patients with respiratory conditions (it can be very smoky) should avoid the therapy.