Moxibustion is the burning of the herb Artemisia or Mugwort above or directly on the skin to remove pain, improve digestion, stimulate the immune system and increase blood flow. As moxibustion is a warming therapy it is great for people who experience cold sensations anywhere in the body. Moxibustion is also a phenomenally successful treatment for menstrual cramps, often immediately reducing or eliminating an acute case.
Moxibustion may actually predate acupuncture and has been used safely and effectively for thousands of years for a variety of complaints and disorders.
Moxibustion is often preformed on the same acupuncture points that are used with needles, or it can be applied to a general area for relief of symptoms. Moxibustion should never burn the patient. Moxibustion can be found in a variety of forms, from the large pole style of crude herb that is often used for home health, to small stick on varieties that are applied over acupuncture points, placed on top of needles that are inserted into the skin, or as direct moxibustion, which is where small amounts of very refined moxa are placed onto the skin that has been protected with ointment, burned, and removed before the heat reaches the skin.
Forms of Moxibustion
Moxibustion can be found in a variety of forms, from the large pole style of crude herb that is often used for home health, to small stick on varieties that are applied over acupuncture points, placed on top of needles that are inserted into the skin, or as direct moxibustion, which is where small amounts of very refined moxa are placed onto the skin that has been protected with ointment, burned, and removed before the heat reaches the skin. Here is a short video demonstration of a direct moxibustion treatment. Please note that the red marks on the patients skin are an ointment to protect the skin from burns, and that the treatment is often repeated several times in a session.
Moxibustion was thought to originally have been used with almost any combustible as a heat therapy before the use of mugwort became standardized.
Mugwort has a variety of unique properties that allow the heat and infrared radiation to deeply penetrate into the body to produce a lasting effect. Moxibustion is often utilized as a great method of strengthening the immune system. As the heat is applied to an area of the body, the body will react by releasing a substance called a histotoxin that will stimulate the production of additional white blood cells, the main component of the bodies immune system. This local area of stimulation will start a cascade effect that will increase immune function throughout the entire body, allowing it to better fight off infection and disease.
Home health moxibustion is utilized all over Asia and other parts of the world as it is an easy to learn and use method that can allow people to take care of themselves safely after proper training by a qualified practitioner. Home health moxibustion often uses the large pole form or moxibustion in which a large cylinder of crude mugwort is rolled into a cigar shape and wrapped in paper. The end of this moxa pole is then lit and allowed to burn until a large ember envelops one end, which is then placed at a safe distance over the affected or appropriate area until the person feels hot, then the pole is removed. This will often be repeated several time during a treatment. Again, moxibustion should never involve burns and should only be preformed with proper instruction and training to avoid injury.
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