Some Things You Need To Know About The Ancient Chinese Therapy Known As Moxibustion

During ancient times, balance was the healer’s main guiding principle to health. Hence, a person feeling weak and cold is given warmth and strength. The type of treatment given for a cold affliction in traditional Chinese medicine would be moxibustion. Moxibustion is a healing technique involving the burning of moxa or mugwort plant to provide the patient with penetrating therapeutic heat for an underlying cold problem.

For most people with this problem, the cold usually settles in the gastrointestinal tract, lower stomach, or uterus. Moxibustion is an ideal way of sending heat to these body regions. The word moxibustion is derived from “mogusa,” a Japanese word meaning “burning herbs.” This practice uses medicinal cones or cigars burned and applied near or on the body.

Moxibustion therapy is believed to have started over 3,000 years ago in China, long before the use of needles, fire was used to stimulate the acupuncture points. Nowadays, moxibustion is utilized to address a wide range of problems that can include cancer, Lyme disease, tuberculosis, reproductive disorders, menstrual problems, and chronic digestive issues.

This technique is an extremely effective treatment for pain and many people seen by Chinese medicine practitioners who are in a lot of pain may sometimes not get adequate relief with acupuncture treatment.

In Korea, Japan, and China, moxibustion plays a huge role in these countries’ medical system, but in the United States, it seems that this procedure has not attracted a lot of people. In schools of Chinese medicine, moxibustion therapy is included in the curriculum, but once the students graduate, they rarely practice or even abandon this type of treatment.

The smell of the lit moxa and the risk of burning a patient are the two biggest issues in moxibustion therapy. The smoke from burning moxa is aromatic but oftentimes people mistake it for marijuana. What’s important though is that the treatment works well for various types of conditions.

In a moxibustion procedure, small moxa cones are placed on specific acupuncture points along the spine and then burned for strength and warmth.

Breech Baby Moxibustion Treatment

There is little research done on the effects of moxibustion compared to those done on acupuncture. The few moxibustion studies that have been conducted indicate that the therapy has positive effects on the regeneration of tissue, immunity, and blood. In 1998, the Journal of the American Medical Association published a study showing that with the help of moxibustion treatment targeted on the pinky toe acupuncture point, three quarters of pregnant women with breech fetuses turned to the normal position.

In Western cultures, moxibustion is considered an inessential part of Chinese medicine; ancient doctors on the other hand, held it in high regard. According to the ancient Chinese medicine document, Nei Jing, moxibustion can accomplish “what the needle cannot.”

Some Chinese medicine healers in the States have confirmed this age-old notion as true. One acupuncturist described treating a woman suffered injuries from multiple car accidents with moxibustion treatment. Initially, she was treated with acupuncture for several months but it seemed that her acupuncture treatments only led to minor improvements. Her acupuncturist then decided to try moxibustion and after just one treatment session, the patient experienced instant and dramatic results.

Most acupuncturists worry about using moxibustion on their patients for fear of burning them. This fear needs to be overcome by simply following to a tee the skills they learned during their training.

The Mugwort Plant

Mugwort is a weed that is commonly found in lawns, flower beds, or waste areas. This plant is where moxa is derived. Moxa has a wide variety of uses. It is often prescribed by therapists and healers to treat circulatory problems, hormonal disorders, digestive issues, heavy bleeding, menstrual cramps, labor pains, and uterine complaints.

Mugwort is turned into a spongy material called moxa wool for moxibustion purposes. The burning moxa wool contains a moxa burner and the wool is hovered over the body about an inch high.

According to researchers, ancient Chinese medicine healers use mugwort because of its many positive qualities: it burns with little flame and smoke and generates a slow and steady burning heat. They also used mugowrt because they believe this plant has magical properties. It has been used to treat people poisoned by scorpion stings or snake bites and to ward off evils spirits or ghosts.

The smoke of mugwort can help soothe the nervous system of a person. A lot of people actually enjoy the smell and feel relaxed by it. Some feel so soothed that they doze off for the rest of the session.

Almost anyone can benefit from moxibustion. However, it may not be an appropriate treatment for those suffering from signs of excessive heat such as eczema, infection, or fever. In the early stages of pregnancy, acupuncture points on the lower back and stomach need to be avoided.

Indirect and Direct Moxibustion

There are two types of moxibustion: indirect and direct. In the indirect method, a burning moxa is held about an inch away from the body. This is the most form of moxibustion. Direct moxibustion means that the burning moxa is placed directly on the skin. A highly skilled practitioner is required for this risky technique.

In indirect moxibustion, the healer may allow the patient to continue treatment at home. He may provide the patient with a moxa stick and instruct the patient on what acupuncture point to target for treatment.

Usually, the practitioner holds the lit moxa above the prescribed point. He pulls it away when the flame gets too hot for the patient to tolerate. The practitioner allows the patient to cool and then resumes treatment.

Most practitioners tell their patients to transcend the superficiality of the warmth sensation until the heat goes deep into their tissue. Once the heat is felt deep within the body, the effects are considered achieved and the lit moxa stick is extinguished. Ordinarily, one moxibustion session lasts for five to ten minutes.

You can purchase the materials you need to perform moxubstion over the Internet, at acupuncture schools, or in Chinatown stores. The moxa can come in a variety of sizes and shapes: from loose moxa wall, to stumps that are the size of cigarette butts and with an adhesive end.

For patients sensitive to smoke, practitioners may use smokeless moxa sticks that are charcoal-based. However, it is believed that these smokeless sticks are not as potent as the ones that produce smoke.

Still there are high-quality Japanese-made smokeless moxa sticks like Ibuki Gold Mountain that can be bought and used for people with allergies or asthma. This stick produces very little smell and most people tend to tolerate it well.

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