Moxibustion is an ancient Chinese therapy involving the burning of mugwort – a small, spongy herb – believed to facilitate healing. Like acupuncture, cupping, and various other forms of alternative Asian medicine, moxibustion has been practised for thousands of years. The reason why people continue to rely on moxibustion is because of the philosophy that it strengthens circulation, stimulates the flow of energy in Qi, and maintains overall general health.
Benefits of moxibustion.
Moxibustion is used frequently to treat colds and flus or similar symptoms. It’s used to increase blood flow, by expelling cold and warm meridians throughout the body. It has been used successfully in Western medicine as a method to turn breech babies into the normal head-down position prior to childbirth. Lastly, among other benefits, moxibustion has also been shown to improve the symptoms of menstrual cramps.
Does moxibustion Hurt?
The most common question received about moxibustion is how much it hurts. Two types of moxibustion exist. There’s direct moxibustion wherein a cone-shaped amount of moxa is placed on top of an acupuncture point and burned. This type can scar when the moxa is placed on a point, ignited, and allowed to remain. Direct moxibustion doesn’t always scar though, as long as the moxa is extinguish or removed before it burns the skin.
The second type of moxibustion is indirect. Far more popular than direct contact, with indirect moxibustion, one end of the moxa stick is lit and is held close to the area until it turns red. Sometimes indirect moxibustion combines with acupuncture needles. In this method, a needle is inserted and then wrapped in moxa and ignited.
The importance of Mugwort.
Mugwort has a long history of use in folk medicine, with scientific research showing it acts as an emmenagogue. This is an agent which increases blood circulation to the pelvic area and stimulating menstruation, which is likely a major part of the reason why moxibustion can treat breech births and the symptoms of menstrual cramps.
Is moxibustion right for you?
Moxibustion is ultimately another form of heat therapy bringing traditional Chinese heat treatments with acupuncture points. If there are pathogenic influences which need to be dispelled or if you haven’t been feeling yourself lately, moxibustion warms and invigorates the body’s energy flow. As a patient, you can actually feel this happening. A sudden flood of warm radiating along certain pathways corresponding to the site of application indicates the arrival, flow, and freeing of energy in the body.
Beyond the gynecological and obstetrical conditions moxibustion is used to treat, it’s also sometimes applied to remedy injury or arthritis pain. For moxibustion in Canada, visit Lierre.ca to see what you need to get started and more information on how to apply.