Moxibustion has a long history of use in acupuncture and traditional medicine. It can be used to treat a stagnant condition because it warms the meridians to improve the flow of energy. In Western medicine, moxa treatment has been used to turn babies out of the breech position.

What is Moxibustion or Moxa Treatment?

Moxibustion is a type of traditional Chinese medicine that’s typically used with acupuncture. It involves the burning of a mox, which is a stick or a cone made of mugwort leaves either on or near your meridian points.

It’s believed that moxibustion helps stimulate these meridian points and improves the energy (Qi) flow because of the heat. Improving the body’s energy flow is believed to help with a wide range of health issues, from digestive issues to chronic pain and more, including:

  • Back pain
  • Headaches
  • Migraines
  • Arthritis
  • Ulcers
  • Muscle tension
  • Infertility
  • Tendonitis 
moxi treatment

How Does Moxibustion Work?

Moxa treatment can be either direct or indirect. Indirect is the most common method used today. 

Indirect moxibustion can be performed in a few different ways:

  • The practitioner burns the moxa on top of the acupuncture needle.
  • Sometimes, the burning moxa is placed on top of a layer of garlic, ginger or salt on top of the patient’s skin.
  • Holding moxa above the skin. The stick or cone is lit similarly to an incense stick, and the glowing end is held about 1” to 2” above the surface of the skin.
  • Using an electrical device to apply heat to the acupuncture points.

Direct moxibustion isn’t as common as indirect, but some practitioners still use this method. With direct moxibustion, the moxa is placed directly onto the skin. The reason why the direct method isn’t used often is because it can cause scarring and pain.

Moxibustion and acupuncture are often done in the same clinical session because they complement one another. 

What Does Moxibustion Feel Like?

Many people are concerned that moxibustion will hurt or cause discomfort. However, when done properly, it should be pleasant. 

Patients receiving moxibustion report a feeling of warmth flooding and radiating along the pathway being treated and away from the application site. This indicates that Qi is now moving through the pathway.

Why is Mugwort Used?

Moxa consists of mugwort, which is an invasive weed that grows in a variety of climates. It has a long history of use in traditional medicine.

Romans reportedly planted mugwort along roadways, so travelers could pick it and place it in their shoes to relieve aching feet. 

Mugwort’s spicy odor is believed to help it move through the body’s meridians, regulate the flow of Qi and blood and push cold out of the body. There’s an active component in mugwort called borneol, which is known for its analgesic effects and used in topical applications.

Moxa treatment is best performed by a skilled practitioner. It may be recommended as part of your treatment plan. Smokeless versions are available for patients who don’t like the smell of smoke, as true moxa will produce a lot of smoke.

Try moxibustion today with our expert staff at Peak Life Acupuncture. We are professionally trained to help you with all your acupuncture needs. Call us at (818) 823-6721 for a free consultation. 

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