Moxibustion is a type of heat therapy in which a dried herb called “moxa” is burned very near or on the skin surface. It is designed to strengthen the circulation of Chi and warm the body in order to expel pathogenic influences.

Moxibustion mainly uses a dried leafy material called Artemesia Vulgaris or Chinese mugwort for treatment although other herbal substances can be used as well.

What does a moxibustion practitioner do?

Moxibustion practitioners in the U.S., usually hold a burning moxa stick very near the surface of the skin, but without touching it.

In this treatment, the practitioner compresses moxa into a pole or stick, shaped like an oversized cigar which is set alit and allowed to smolder. This generates a one-of-a-kind type of deeply healing and penetrating heat.

Held over specific areas in the body, the smoldering moxa stick is, often, but not always nearly applied to certain acupoints. The moxa stick’s glowing end is held about an inch or two over the skin surface until the area becomes suffused with warmth and reddens.

What can I expect to feel?

It is common for patients being treated moxibustion to experience a sudden flood of warmth that quickly spreads away from the area of treatment. This result is a good one, as it suggests the arrival of Chi and signals that the flow of xue and Chi is now flowing smoothly in the energy channels.

What are the uses of moxibustion?

Moxibustion can be used to:

Prevent the development of flu and cold strains
Relieve pain related due to arthritis or injury, particularly in “cold” syndromes in which the pain naturally feels better with the use of heat
Treat obstetrical and gynecological problems, including breech baby during late term pregnancy
Resolve irregular elimination and digestive conditions

Acupuncturists in Bellmore often perform moxibustion and acupuncture in the same clinic session when required per diagnosis and plan of treatment. They believe that the procedures, when used together, tend to raise each other’s effectiveness.

Moxibustion can be easily administered at home, unlike acupuncture, which should only be administered by a trained acupuncturist in a clinic setting. It is ordinary for practitioners of Chinese medicine to educate their patients in the use moxibustion for self treatment to fortify the effects of the clinical treatments between sessions.

What does moxibustion smell like?

One of the disadvantages of moxibustion therapy is the smoke and odor the procedure produces. While there are alleged smokeless types of moxa, the true and preferred moxibustion (made from mugwort) tends to generate a lot of smoke when burned. A majority of TCM clinics are equipped with a good air purification and ventilation system, so this is not a big problem.

The burning mugwort, however, generates a lingering odor that unfortunately smells a bit like marijuana. In most clinics in the US, acupuncturists hung signs in their office to inform visitors and patients and visitors about the real nature of the smell they may be noticing.