Most acupuncturists are also moxabustionists but it's just too long a title to use every day. Most people know that acupuncture treatments involve the use of very fine needles either inserted just into the skin or resting on the surface. What comes as a suprise to virtually all new patients is that the use of moxa is as important a tool as a needle. Moxibustion has been used throughout Asia for thousands of years and in fact, the actual Chinese character for acupuncture actually means 'acupuncture-moxibustion.'
What does moxabustion involve?
Treatment with moxibustion involves the burning of mugwort, a small, spongy herb, to facilitate healing.
There are two types of moxibustion: direct and indirect.
In direct moxibustion, a small, cone-shaped amount of moxa is placed on top of an acupuncture point and lit. It's removed before it burns down and reaches the skin. The patient feels a lovely warming sensation that penetrates the skin and muscle. It's never left long enough to burn or mark the skin.
In indirect moxibustion, one end of a moxa stick is lit (it's roughly the shape and size of a cigar) and it is held close to the area being treated until the area becomes heated.
So what does moxabustion do for you?
The purpose of moxibustion is to strengthen the blood, stimulate the flow of qi, and thereby maintain general health. Moxa is particularly good for cold or stagnant condition as it is believed to expel cold and nourish and warm the body. This leads to a smoother flow of blood and qi in the skin, muscles and organs.
It has also been shown that moxabustion can stimulate the immune system, promote blood clotting and the regeneration of tissues. In effect it can help improve the quality of the blood by helping to regulate the production of white and red blood cells, platelets and improvr blood calcium levels.
What conditions can it help?
There are very few patients who can't be helped by the use of moxa. I've used it on patients with muscle tension, back and knee pain, to help recover from the side effects of cancer treatmments, blood disorders such as aplastic anemia, arthritis, fertility issues, chronic or acute coughs and colds and the list goes on.
I love using moxa to help my patients and virtually all my patients appreciate the benefits of a moxa treatment once they get over the strangeness of the idea of this wonderfull burning herb.
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Gaynor Hollis is a Classical Five Element Acupuncturist with a thriving practice in Birmingham. She is interested in all things healthy and life style related not just Chinese and Japanese acupuncture.