what is moxabustion?
Moxa or Moxabustion has been a long standing modality within Chinese medicine for at least 3000 to 4000 years ago. It is believed that moxabustion was used before acupuncture and herbalism for healing.
What is Moxa? It is an herb called Mugwart or Ai Ye in Chinese Pinyon. Mugwart is a species of Chrysanthemum which is indigenous in China and the United States. Mugwart must be processed first then it begins to resemble cotton but with a yellowish/ brown color. The processing helps it bind together well so when you make cones to place on the body or on the top of a needle, it holds together while being burned.
what is it used for?
Moxa has been used for many things, particularly cold and blood stagnation issues. What does this mean? Many people have pain but when the weather changes and gets cold, the pain can get worse. For example, arthritis tends to get worse in the cold. What moxa does is expel the cold and warms the channels near the area of arthritis to ease the aches and pains. People with whole body cold can greatly benefit from moxa as well. A great technique is to fill the navel or Ren 8 with salt then burn the moxa cones on top of the salt. This will warm the body up fast and it feels wonderful.
My personal favorite Moxa technique that I use for gastrointestinal issues is placing moxa on top of a needle over ST-36 and ST-37. After the treatment, most people’s stomach problems are reduced and usually walk out feeling really good. This technique is also used for longevity. A true ancient Chinese secret! Placing moxa on St36 increases white blood cell production which keeps your immune system strong. This helps during the winter time to keep colds and flu away.
Moxa also works wonders for breeched babies and stopping severe menstrual bleeding. When working with severe bleeding we use a point on the big toe called SP1. It works fast and the results are quite astounding! When working with a breeched baby, it is very important to see a licensed acupuncturist that knows what point BL-67to affect for turning the baby. This usually takes time and homework on the mother’s side at home. Also, this usually works best to start as soon as you find out that the baby is breeched so you can start the moxa treatment ASAP! Sounds pretty wild but it can work!
When deciding if moxibustion is something you want to try, be cautious if you have diabetes, peripheral neuropathy, and paralysis of the hands or feet, high fever or are pregnant. Diabetics only need to be cautious if the feeling near their extremities has been dulled or lost. I need to make sure you can feel the heat of the moxa so that the patient does not get burned.
Lastly, if the patient is pregnant, doing moxa on the lower back or abdomen is contraindicated due to moving too much qi and blood. By doing moxa on the abdomen or lower back there is a potential of early pregnancy or miscarriage. If the patient is coming in for breeched baby the technique is ok with no negative effects. It feels wonderful so come in and try it out.