The word moxibustion ormoxatherapy is derived from the Japanese word “Moe Kusa” which literally translates to “burning herb.” Moxibustion is a healing technique meant to relieve fatigue and pain in the human body. Moxa is obtained from the Mugwort herb. Moxibustion originated in China and Japan but because of its extreme therapeutic effectiveness has become a popular form of treatment throughout the world.
Practitioners basically utilize a moxa stick that is lit up and its warmth applied to body. This warmth is usually focused on the acupuncture points or pressure points. The moxa stick is rich with chi toning qualities. It is designed in a horizontal manner so that less heat reaches the patient and to make it easy to handle.
A typical moxibustion session goes like this:
The practitioner first takes a moxa stick which is made up of moxa wool and packed in paper formed cylindrically. The stick is held in a vertical direction.
Then, the practitioner tells the patient to lie down on a comfortable bench or couch. The person is told to remove the clothes from the part of the body that’s to be treated. A towel is placed on the area where the ash from the burning moxa stick will fall.
Now the practitioner lights up the downward end of the stick with a lighter or a matchstick. The stick should not be removed until it starts emitting some smoke and the odor could be smelled.
The practitioner then removes the match stick, and holds the stick two to three centimeters above the site of the treatment. The healer makes sure that the patient only feels the warmth that makes the patent comfortable and relaxed as possible.
The practitioner kills the fire as soon as the procedure is done. This is done by either snuffing off the fire with ash on its end or extinguishing the fire with water.
A patient will feel very much energized a session of moxibustion treatment. The warmth received by the tissues helps boost the flow of blood in the vessels. The function of the lymphatic system is enhanced and the smooth movement of ‘chi’ is stimulated all across the energy channels (meridians). The procedure stimulates all the systems in the body, treats rheumatism, relieves muscle swelling, stiffness, and tension, heals fatigue, and alleviates pain in the body organs. It helps women attain a timely and less problematic menstrual cycle and resolves any disorders associated with it. It can help sufferers of insomnia fall asleep at night and even during the procedure itself because of its pleasurable and calming effects. All the therapeutic benefits of moxibustion can be felt each time one undergoes this exceedingly relaxing therapy.
Moxibustion has also its own disadvantages. One of its issues is that it tends to emit smoke that has an earthy smell and because of this, asthmatic patients or individuals sensitive to smoke may find the procedure difficult to endure. Otherwise,it is an ideal treatment for all types of pain. It is extremely important to select a qualified and experienced practitioner. Because heat is involved in this procedure, even a small bit of recklessness on the part of the practitioner or the patient can injure the skin with burns. At times, moxibustion is combined with acupuncture treatment which m means that needles are used to redirect the movement of chi towards the parts of the body to stimulate those parts in order to heal a certain condition.
The Native Americans in both the continents of North and South America consider the Mugwort plant sacred.They use the plant for spiritual healing and used for magic and kept under pillows to help generate dreams. It has been used to heal illnesses in many parts of the world for thousands of years.
Dominic Sembello is a licensed and board certified acupuncturist and the clinical director of Health Source Acupuncture in Linwood, NJ.