Moxibustion is an ancient form of heat therapy which involves the burning of moxa. Moxa is usually made from the dried leafy material of Chinese mugwort, but it can be made of other substances as well. It is a therapy which uses heat stimulation on acupuncture points of the body. From the perspective of traditional Chinese medicine, moxibustion can warm the meridians to dispel cold. It is applied for conditions caused by cold obstruction, blood stagnation and blockages of the meridians, such as cold and dampness pattern arthritis and stomach ache. It is a technique used by acupuncturist. The moxibustion technique is used by acupuncturist for many reasons. One of main reasons is to increase blood circulation. It provides the best result compare just using tuina or needling.

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Types of Moxibustion

There are three types of moxibustion: 1) Direct moxibustion uses a small, cone-shaped amount of moxa which is placed on top of acupuncture point and burned on the skin. This is rarely used by acupuncturist. Nowadays, direct moxibustion is not a popular traditional Chinese medicine treatment in China. 2) Indirect moxibustion is the more popular type of moxibustion because there is a much lower risk of pain or skin burning. In indirect moxibustion, acupuncturist lights one end of a moxa stick and holds it one or two inch away from the skin. It brings mild warmth to the area without burning on the skin until the skin becomes slightly red. Acupuncturist may use a moxa box which moxa is burned in the box to heat the underlying area. 3) Needle moxa technique is a combination of needling and moxibustion. Acupuncturist attaches a small piece of moxa stick on the needle’s handle, and lights the moxa stick from its bottom while the needle is still retained in the acupuncture point. The heat is conducted through the needle to the acupuncture point.

Studies suggest that moxibustion therapy combined with acupuncture can be effective for many health conditions including back pain, muscle stiffness, headaches, migraines, tendonitis, arthritis, digestive disorders and anxiety. For moxibustion, you can choose an acupuncturist with moxibustion skills. (Learn more about acupuncture)

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