Ancient Healing for Modern Living


Moxibustion, also known as “moxa,” is the burning of a powerful medicinal herb called artemesia vulgaris, or mugwort. The practice of moxibustion is as old as acupuncture dating over 2,500 years, and is considered to be just as powerful in the treatment of disease. According to ancient Chinese medical texts, it is said that when acupuncture does not help, moxibustion may be the answer.

The theory and practice of moxibustion is so powerful, intricate and complex that it is considered to be a completely separate field of study similar to acupuncture, and is supported by a number of clinical research studies.

Description & Benefits

Treatment:  Moxibustion can be practiced and applied in many ways. It can be burned while placed directly on the skin, or indirectly while burned and held above the skin. It may also be placed on top of an acupuncture needle to allow the heat to affect the point and penetrate deeply into the channel. Moxibustion is typically applied to specific acupuncture points or meridians to achieve a systemic effect and/or locally at the problematic site.

Benefits:  Moxibustion warms the meridians and is useful for conditions that may arise from cold or deficiency in the body. Cold trapped in the body may stagnate blood resulting in accumulations and pain. By warming the meridians, moxa serves to dispel the cold, invigorate the blood and remove blockages, thereby reducing pain and restoring function. The warming nature of moxa also strengthens deficiency in the body and has the function of boosting the immune system to treat or prevent disease.

Conditions Treated:  Examples of conditions that may benefit from moxibustion include depression, arthralgia, menstrual irregularities, infertility, gastrointestinal issues such as epigastric pain and chronic diarrhea, fluid retention, general weakness and chronic fatigue, and respiratory issues.

Studies show that the use of moxibustion is highly beneficial for joint pain and osteoarthritis, as well as for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Modern research has also shown that the immune system is stimulated and strengthened with the application of moxa to the acupoint Stomach 36. Moxibustion is also often used on an acupoint located on the pinky toe called Bladder 67 to stimulate uterine contractions and turn breeched babies. Modern medicine confirms with the discovery of dermatome maps that the pinky toe is associated with the S1 dermatome (supplied by the spinal nerve at S1), located directly behind the uterus!

Does It Hurt?  In the United States, moxibustion is most commonly applied indirectly above the skin or applied to the skin with a buffer to prevent burning or direct contact with the skin. Most patients find the warming sensation to be very pleasant and therapeutic, especially when their disease is caused by cold.