The Healing Power of Moxibustion

When you walk into an acupuncture clinic, you may notice that familiar smoky smell of moxa. Some people don’t like it; others love it. New patients generally ask, “What is that interesting herbal smell?”

Well, that earthy fragrance is the smell of burning herb called moxa (also called mugwort or Artemisia Vulgaris). Moxibustion is an ancient Chinese healing technique of warming acupuncture points by burning moxa cone(s) close to or directly on the skin. Moxibustion can be used in combination with acupuncture or as a standalone therapy. It has a number of health benefits and is a popular technique due to its effectiveness. If you would like to try moxa, you can get in touch with Luna Body and Mind in Santa Monica to experience the benefits of moxibustion for yourself.

What is Moxibustion?

This is an ancient traditional Chinese medicine technique carried out by burning Mugwort, a spongy herb, to stimulate the healing effect. The primary purpose of moxibustion is to naturally stimulate the circulation of blood and Qi, warm up the body, resolve pain, and stimulate the production of red and white blood cells.

Moxibustion is especially effective for people suffering from stagnant conditions or cold which usually means some kind of pain that gets worse with cold/wet weather. The technique expels cold while warming the meridians, leading to a smoother flow of qi and blood. Additionally practitioners use moxibustion to turn a breech baby, resolve menstrual cramps, and stop prolonged menstrual bleeding.

What Happens during Moxibustion Treatment?

There are three types of moxa – direct, indirect, and needle moxa.

With direct moxa, an acupuncturist places a moxa cone on an acupuncture point directly on the skin. The skin is often prepared with a moxa balm (a sticky substance that contains herbs) to help facilitate heat conduction and ensure that a moxa cone stays in place. Then a moxa cone is set on fire using an incense stick. When the herbal cone burns, it produces penetrating heat. A cone is removed when a patient notices the sensation of heat.

Indirect moxa involves burning a moxa stick near the skin without touching it. This is usually done over a larger area rather than one acupuncture point.

Needle moxa is exactly what it sounds like. A moxa cone is placed on the top of the needle (with the end inserted into an acupuncture point on the body) and while it burns, the needle conducts the heat into the tissues. This method is especially useful for treating a deeper joint pain.

Occasionally, moxa is burned on another substance that is placed on the skin such as a slice of ginger, garlic or salt. These substances contribute their own healing energy to the treatment. This is a hybrid of direct and indirect moxa.

Health Benefits of Moxibustion

We offer moxibustion in our Santa Monica office because it effectively stimulates the body’s natural blood circulation and accelerates the healing response. Here are the health benefits of moxibustion therapy:

  1. Improves blood and Qi circulation.
  2. Expels dampness and cold from the body by warming the body’s meridians to relieve pain.
  3. Relieves and prevents menstrual cramps and stops excessive menstrual bleeding.
  4. Rotates a breech baby.
  5. Supports fertility and regulates menstrual cycle.
  6. Improves poor sperm quality, improves sexual libido and endurance.
  7. Strengthens the immune system and ability to fight respiratory illnesses.
  8. Relieves diarrhea and constipation.
  9. Reverses numbness and neuropathy in extremities.
  10. Reduces the chance of developing blood clots.
  11. Combined with acupuncture and cupping, moxibustion can ease depression and anxiety.
  12. Increases energy, endurance and metabolism.
  13. Moxibustion has been used for centuries by Tibetan monks to improve longevity and vitality.

Give us a call if you want to experience the healing benefits of moxibustion in our Santa Monica clinic. Our experienced practitioners use high quality Japanese pure moxa, which is appropriate even for smoke sensitive patients. Moxa is a very popular treatment because of its energizing and calming effect and can also be enjoyed by healthy people as a part of their wellness routine. We offer free consultations for new patients in our Santa Monica office, and will be happy to advise you if moxibustion would be a good modality for you.