Moxibustion is a form of Chinese medicine that has been around for thousands of years. Yet many people may not be as familiar with moxibustion as with acupuncture, despite its co-administration with needling therapy. If a client is already using moxibustion, it is good to have some knowledge to understand what they are doing. As a form of alternative medicine, it is helpful for trainers to be aware of the options for our clients. While we cannot recommend medical treatment, we can offer helpful suggestions and ideas when situations arise.
What is that?
Moxibustion uses heat and smoke to try to treat a variety of illnesses. Moxa sticks look like a large cigar wrapped in white or light-colored paper. The diameter varies by brand, but they can usually be reduced in size. The sticks are filled with mugwort (Artemesia argyi), which is a herbaceous plant cultivated in Asia and Europe. Some moxa sticks may contain other ingredients and fillers, although pure moxa is usually exclusively mugwort.
How is moxibustion used?
The sticks (or in some cases the cones) are burnt and the smoke is held over the area (for about 20 to 30 minutes) to heal. In some cases, acupuncture points are targeted. The stick is held close to the skin without directly touching it. Either end can be inflamed or both depending on how it is used and what it is treating. It is usually necessary to blow on the lighted part to light the stick evenly and to pat the ashes periodically to keep the stick going. The process is known as moxibustion. The smoke and heat combine for potential healing benefits. Practitioners claim that heat stimulates the qi (energy) along the body’s energy meridians promoting a healing process.
A Chinese medicine practitioner can perform the procedure, or you can do it yourself. The sticks are a bit difficult to light, so it helps to have a long lighter or torch lighter. They are also difficult to extinguish, so it is helpful to have an ashtray with sand or gravel to help extinguish it. Or cut them into smaller sizes to burn them off completely.
What is he dealing with?
Moxibustion is used to treat many chronic diseases and conditions (note: reviews and information continue to be mixed).
• Stress and anxiety
• Breech births
• Breast nodules
• Digestive problems and nausea
• Bone spurs
• Muscle aches
Another plus: the smoke is also believed to repel insects. Even though the results are inconclusive in many cases, some people think it’s worth a try.
Where can I find moxibustion?
Pure moxa sticks are available from acupuncturists and other traditional Chinese medicine practitioners. It is available online at many sites, including Amazon.
Mugwort is available as an essential oil to use for aromatherapy. It also comes as a skin care lotion / cream with anti-inflammatory and moisturizing benefits. The oil and lotion can be ordered online.
Because a hot moxa stick is used, there is a risk of skin burns.
Some people might be allergic to smoke, especially those allergic to ragweed.
It is generally not recommended for children. If it is used by pregnant women, it is recommended to consult a healthcare practitioner.
Skin discoloration may occur where the moxa stick is directed. The discoloration usually goes away with gentle rubbing.
The smoke is persistent, so it’s a good idea to use it outdoors. The smell of smoke tends to stick to clothing and hair, especially if it is used indoors.
As with any treatment, continue to stay up to date with news and research so that you are ready to answer questions about moxibustion if your clients ask you.
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