Moxibustion is a heat therapy used in Chinese medicine to warm the meridians and improve Qi and blood flow. The herb that is burned is called mugwort also known as Artemisia Vulgaris. There are 2 types of moxibustion, direct and indirect. Direct moxibustion utilizes the herb in its raw form shaped into cones of rice grain size to be placed directly on the body. Once placed on the body, the herb is ignited and will burn until it reaches the skin or is extinguished to avoid the risk of burn. Burn cream can be placed underneath the moxa to prevent burning the skin. However, the more common form of Moxibustion is indirect, with the mugwort in stick form to be burned near the skin but not directly on the skin, avoiding risk of burning or scarring.
In the clinic, indirect moxibustion is used with smokeless moxa near specific acupuncture points and meridians according to the person’s eastern medicine diagnosis. The stick form of moxa generally resembles a cigar and is burned near the acupuncture point or along the channel for a few minutes, but another form is a small amount of moxa placed on top of the acupuncture needle and lit to heat the needle at the acupuncture point.
Moxibustion therapy is part of Chinese Medicine and is practiced by a licensed Acupuncturist. It has been helpful with cold conditions in Chinese Medicine that include digestive issues, arthritis, menstrual cramping, infertility and a breech baby. Studies have shown that moxibustion has been helpful in turning a breech baby into a head down position prior to giving birth. A licensed acupuncturist will diagnose you using Traditional Chinese Medicine diagnostic strategies and will determine if this therapy is appropriate for your condition. Moxibustion is contraindicated in diagnosed heat conditions in Chinese Medicine.