Moxibustion was first mentioned in medical texts about 960 A.D. during the Song Dynasty although historians say it was being used way longer than that. It is one of the major branches of traditional Chinese medicine and ancient documents state that if herbal medicine and acupuncture in Palm Harbor are unable to treat a disease, moxibustion should be tried.
Moxibustion therapy generates heat that deeply penetrates the body making it an ideal therapy against deficient yang, dampness and coldness in the body, and weak circulation. When the therapy targets acupuncture points associated with yang deficiency, heat is absorbed deep within the body, replenishing “life-gate fire,” (which is where all energy and heat originate in the body) and the yang qi of the body.
The moxa used in moxibustion treatment is derived from mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris). The fragrant leaves are dried and strained over and over until they become soft.
There are two types of moxibustion: direct moxibustion and indirect moxibustion.
This type of moxibustion uses a small quantity of herb that’s shaped into a cone and then burned right on the skin. This causes skin burns and therefore is very seldom undertaken in acupuncture clinics in the West. In a lot of instances, when moxa is directly administered on the skin, the practitioner first places ointment on the site of the treatment point to avoid burning the skin. In another moxibustion technique, the moxa is set afire on top of a slice of aconite, garlic, or ginger; this method prevents burning and also augments the therapeutic benefits of those herbs.
Indirect moxibustion entails the use of a moxa wool that’s rolled into a long cigar shaped stick and placed in wrapping paper. This stick is then burned and hovered about an inch above the site of treatment. This body part is usually an acupuncture point considered essential by the practitioner for treating an illness. This type of moxibustion can be directly applied at the site of the problem or can be applied on acupuncture points to attain a body-wide or systemic healing effect.
Indirect moxibustion can, for example, be performed on an arthritic joint or any stiff swollen area. It can also be ideally applied to certain acupuncture points like the Du 4 (Mingmen) and St 36 points (Hsusanli), to generate systemic healing. The heat absorbed by these acupoints elevates the immunity and metabolism of the body, hence, moxibustion at these points can be used as a preventive measure against disease.
A prominent ancient document states that “people who apply moxibustion everyday to the St 36 point will never experience the one hundred diseases.” When moxibustion is applied to the St 36 or Stomach 36 point, it energizes the body, particularly the digestive and immune functions. Some recommendations for the use of moxibustion are for treatment of asthma, allergies, shock, chronic fatigue, nausea, indigestion, anemia, and general weakness. Recent studies have proven that when the St 36 is treated with moxibustion, it reinforces the immune system of the body.
A different form of indirect moxibustion involves placing a stick of at top end of an acupuncture needle that’s inserted into the body, and lighting up the stick. The heat generated by the moxa goes down into the needle and inside the body.
Moxibustion Therapy for Home Use
Moxibustion is usually an extremely pleasant therapy, especially when the heat travels through cold-induced swelling and painful body parts. Indirect moxibustion is easy to learn and can be done at home. A practitioner can teach a patient how to properly perform the therapy for a specific condition, and the patient can take a moxa stick home to administer daily therapies.