Moxa is a plant (Artemisia argyi Folium) that is used as a heat source to stimulate acupuncture points. Although acupuncture is better known in the West, moxibustion has also been used in traditional treatments for over 2000 years in China. Moxa is combined with acupuncture and Chinese herbs to enhance treatment. It can be used in a variety of conditions such as deficient, excess, heat and acute conditions. It reaches deep portions of the body including muscles and tendons to warm, move and unblock qi in the channels. This can help painful conditions, replenish Qi, promote Qi and blood circulation,
Guidelines for using Moxa.
The moxa you have been given as part of your treatment is in the form of a moxa stick and has been compressed into a cigar-like roll that makes it ideal for use at home. Before using moxa you will need to prepare the following:
- A cigarette lighter.
- A small ceramic or glass dish to place any ash in that may form on the moxa stick during treatment
- A small towel to place under the area being treated in case any ash is dropped.
- A glass screw-top jar to extinguish the moxa when the treatment is finished.
How to use the moxa stick
Simply light one end with a cigarette lighter. When the stick is correctly lit, you will be able to hold the lit end two to three centimetres from the back of your hand and feel a pleasant radiating warmth.
Hold the lit end of the stick over the area to be treated, maintaining a distance of at least two to three centimetres so that there is never any direct contact with the skin.
The moxa stick is then moved slowly over the area being treated, this will begin to feel pleasantly warm.
Any ash that forms on the end of the stick can be gently brushed off by using the edge of the small dish, so that the moxa stick remains hot. If you suspect there is no longer any heat coming off the moxa stick, check by holding it two to three centimetres away from the back of your hand. Re-light if there is no radiating warmth.
Never touch the lighted end of a moxa stick even if it no longer appears to be glowing.
When treatment has finished place the moxa stick in a glass jar with the lid screwed on firmly or place the lit end into a candle holder so that the moxa stick is deprived of oxygen and cannot continue to burn.
The moxa stick can then be re-lit for repeated treatments according to the instructions you received from your acupuncturist.
Moxa points you may use
St 36 – Improves health, aids digestion, guards against stroke.
Four fingers below the kneecap, on the outside, in the depression between the shinbone and the leg muscle.
cv 6 – Nourishes and promotes health.
Directly below your belly button about 2 fingers distance.
Regular: Warming the area from a distance of around 2-3cm until the point becomes warm and red. Do not burn the skin or make direct contact with the skin. Use gradual warming.
Sparrow-pecking moxibustion: In this method, the ignited moxa stick is moved up and down over the point like a bird pecking, or moving left and right, or circularly. It is indicated for numbness and pain in the limbs.