Moxibustion is a “warming”technique using the herb mugwort or ai ya in Chinese Medicine. Mugwort has been used in many different cultures for its medicinal properties. Moxibustion helps to increase blood circulation, tonify energy and stimulate digestive system function as well as boost the immune system. Moxibustion comes in different forms including direct and indirect moxibustion.
Indirect moxa can be either pole moxa, like in the picture to the right, or when moxa is placed at the end of an acupuncture needle and lit. Direct moxibustion is when a cone shaped moxa is placed directly on the skin or is placed on a barrier such as ginger and then placed on the skin. This form of moxibustion is not as commonly used since it can burn the skin.
Moxibustion is used for a variety of health conditions. Since moxibustion is warm and dry it is used in certain health issues where there are deficiencies of energy such as chronic fatigue syndrome as well as certain types of IBS disorders and diarrhea. Moxibustion is very beneficial in treating arthritic conditions as well as joint pain when the pain is predominantly worse in cold or damp weather. Moxibustion is also used in woman’s health disorders such as infertility, ovarian cysts and menstrual cramps. It is also beneficial in improving poor sperm motility and impotence.
Moxibustion is also a popular technique used for breech presentations. A moxa stick is normally used and placed about an inch away from a point on the little toe.
Moxibustion is safe to use but it is warm and drying so people that tend to be warm or experience night sweats should avoid using moxibustion.
Dharmananda, Subhuti Moxibustion, Practical Considerations for Modern Use of An Ancient Technique, retrieved March 9, 2011 http://www.itmonline.org/arts/moxibustion.htm.
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