Moxibustion Can Promote Healing
Moxibustion is a technique in traditional Chinese medicine that uses the heat from tightly bound herbs, usually Chinese mugwort, to promote healing. The dried herbs, called moxa, are compressed into a stick that can be lit to smolder. Though the term is unfamiliar to many, moxibustion is closely related to acupuncture. In fact, the Chinese character for acupuncture translates literally into “acupuncture and moxibustion.”
In Poway, CA, Dr. Bret Mosher uses moxibustion for a variety of conditions, including arthritis pain, digestion problems, gynecological problems, and to prevent cold and flu. Used throughout Asia for thousands of years, moxibustion is a safe, drug-free therapy that is often combined with acupuncture. Unlike acupuncture, however, moxibustion can be used at home by the patient to strengthen the effects of clinical sessions.
Dr. Mosher uses moxibustion for arthritis pain, digestion problems, gynecological problems, and to prevent cold and flu.
There are different types of moxibustion involving various intensities and methods of heat delivery. In the United States, practitioners generally use indirect moxibustion, in which the smoldering moxa stick is held about two inches above the skin. The patient should feel a pleasant, penetrating sensation of warmth without any discomfort. The practitioner holds the moxa stick over the treatment area for several minutes, holding a finger next to the point being stimulated to monitor and maintain a safe level of heat. The treatment area may or may not correspond with acupuncture points, depending on the condition being treated. Moxibustion can also use both acupuncture needles and moxa. The practitioner inserts the needle into the acupoint and then wraps its tip in moxa. When the material is ignited, it delivers heat to the point and surrounding area to intensify the therapeutic benefit.
As a drug-free, noninvasive therapy that can be used to treat a wide variety of conditions, moxibustion can be extremely beneficial for patients seeking to avoid surgery or the side effects of medication.
Uses of Moxibustion
The system of traditional Chinese medicine recognizes six influences that cause disharmony in the body and trigger disease or disorders. These influences are cold, heat, dampness, dryness, summer heat, and wind. Moxibustion is used for “cold” or stagnant conditions. The burning moxa expels the cold and warms the body’s meridians (energy channels), promoting the flow of blood and qi (vital energy). Common ailments treated with moxibustion include pain from injury or arthritis, digestive problems and irregular elimination, asthma, and protection against cold and flu strains. It is especially effective for gynecological and obstetrical conditions. Moxibustion has been used successfully for centuries to treat menstrual problems and to turn breech babies. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1998 found that up to 75% of fetuses rotated to the normal position after moxibustion treatment.
Risks and Benefits
When it is employed by a qualified practitioner, moxibustion is very safe. It should not be used for patients suffering from “heat” conditions, or for those with respiratory problems that may be aggravated by the smoke and pungent odor of the moxa. In these cases, a smokeless moxa stick may be used. As a drug-free, noninvasive therapy that can be used to treat a wide variety of conditions, moxibustion can be extremely beneficial for patients seeking to avoid surgery or the side effects of medication. It can also be an excellent adjunct to traditional Western treatments when incorporated into a complementary medicine protocol.
Schedule an Appointment
When you choose alternative or complementary treatments, it is critical to select a qualified practitioner. Natural therapies can be a safe, effective path to healing and optimal health, but only when they are applied safely by a certified professional. To learn more about moxibustion, please contact our practice today.