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Moxa — Moxibustion

Moxibustion is the burning of Moxa.  Moxa is an herb called mugwort.  Mugwort is rolled into cigar shapes.  There are other types of moxa.

  In this image on the left you can see smokeless moxa, in the middle are little bits of moxa that can be put on the end of the needle.  On the right is regular moxa.  It smokes a lot and smells like marijuana!

Moxa is used in Chinese medicine to add energy to the body.  It improves blood flow and can be used to stimulate acupuncture points.  It is especially good to use on the back.  I used to use moxa a lot in clinic until I became allergic to it.  This is a very common allergy.  I now use moxa spray.  The spray has the mugwort herb in it, in addition to other herbs that relieve stagnation and pain.

  You spray this on the back and apply a far infrared lamp to the back to heat it up.  I usually re-spray every 5-10 minutes.  This very effective to treat back pain.  It makes the acupuncture stronger.

There are contraindications to using moxa.  If you are sensitive to smoke, have allergies, or hot flashes, moxa might not be right for you.  Your back can be sticky after using the spray moxa.

You can also use moxa to heat the needle.  A bit of moxa is put on the tip of the needle.  The moxa heats the needle to penetrate through the skin.  I do not use this.  It is not uncommon for the moxa to fall off the needle onto the back.  This therapy is very common in China.  The Chinese are used to this and don’t mind if they are burned a little in therapy.  I’m not kidding.

  You could place a piece of cardboard underneath the burning moxa to protect it from falling on the back.

  This is moxa that has been placed on top of a piece of ginger root and lit.  This is an interesting therapy that you learn in school, but don’t really use after you graduate..


  This is moxa being done on the little toe.  This acupuncture point, which is Bladder 67 is used to turn breech babies.  It is very commonly used in China for this.  Your burn moxa over the acupuncture point on the little toe and it has a high success rate.

This is a far infrared heat lamp.  You will just feel it as heat on your skin, but it penetrates through the skin and is a therapy all its own.  I like to use this on everyone.  Sometimes, I spray moxa spray on the back and use this heat lamp.  It is amazing to relieve back pain.