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Moxibustion plays an important role in the traditional medical systems of China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Tibet, and Mongolia. Historians believe that the therapeutic use of moxibustion was used before acupuncture. One of the first books about the specific use of moxibustion as a therapy was written around 500 B.C.E. by Bian Que a famous doctor of antiquity and one of the first specialist in moxibustion. Needling came to supplement moxa after around 200 B.C.E. In Modern China the use of Moxibustion is now inseparable from Acupuncture. However some practitioners of Classical Chinese Medicine still only use Moxibustion as their way of treating illness, which is a testament to the effectives of this therapy.

What is Moxibustion?
Moxibustion is a therapy that uses moxa, or the herb mugwort. The herb is usually aged and ground up to a fluff. It can then be used in that state or processed further into a stick that resembles a cigar. It is then used to warm and stimulate areas or specific acupuncture points to
create a therapeutic effect.

What does Moxibustion do?
Moxibustion is used to move the qi and blood to clear obstructions and stagnation in the body. When the body is affected by external pathogenic factors, particularly cold it can restrict the flow of qi and blood. In Chinese Medicine, when qi and blood do not flow, that is the cause of pain.
Sometimes the qi and blood of the body will flow counter to its normal course, this can be the cause of many problems such as nausea, headaches and even panic attacks. Moxa can rectify the course of qi and blood.
At the moment there are numerous studies into the use of Moxibustion, the most popular of which is its ability to turn breach babies, preventing the need for cesarean section.

What will I feel?
The sensation will vary according to the method used. However the main feeling will be of gentle gradual warmth. This can spread and penetrate deep into the body. Sometimes the heat can build up to be quite strong, and when it does, tell your practitioner or if doing it yourself move on to the next point.

I was given a Moxa Stick, now what?
Make sure you have something to put the moxa stick out and something to deposit occasional ash. Ideally if you have a small jar with salt or sand it to snuff out the moxa stick when you are done.
Now light one end of the moxa stick and hold it about 2cm away from the area or points that your practitioner proscribed for you. If you need a reminder of the points click here for some common acupuncture points.
Once you feel the area or point get hot, move the moxa stick away for a few moments, maybe take the opportunity to tap the ash off, then apply again for as many times your practitioner said. Usually 3 times. Once done move to the next point or if done, make sure you extinguish the moxa stick in the salt or sand. Moxa can seem to be put out but still burn, so store your moxa in a place such as a jar that is fireproof and not near anything that might catch fire. Leaving it in a safe place, ready for use next time.
If you have any questions or feel unconfident contact your practitioner or your practitioner can demonstrate again in your next session


This site may contain information on medical and health-related topics. This information is not meant to be a substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical professional. You should not use this information for diagnosing a health problem or disease but should always consult your own physician.