The therapeutic use of Moxibustion (aka Moxa) is an East Asian warming technique utilized by Chinese Medicine Practitioners / Acupuncturists to help restore circulation, clear stagnant blood following an injury, and reduce joint stiffness, swelling and pain.
Most patients find it a very relaxing therapy that they thoroughly enjoy!
WHAT IS MOXIBUSTION
Moxibustion (Moxa) is a medicinal plant known as Mugwort (Ai Ye), an aromatic flowering weed in the plant genus Artemisia. Most commonly, the Mugwort leaves are rolled into a large cigar-like cylinder called a Moxa stick, then lit on one end to create a smokey-cinder (not a flame).
The smoking Moxa stick is then held near the patient’s skin to apply the therapy. Additionally, loose moxa has also been attached to acupuncture needles, ginger, or garlic, and sometimes even housed in what is known as a "moxa box" - with the intention of containing the smoke in a specific region of the body.
Moxa never touches the skin directly. It's therapeutic benefit comes from the body absorbing the smoke itself (see photo). The "Moxa stick" is swirled in various patterns by the practitioner, directing the smoke towards the site of a local injury, or distally pointing to specific acupuncture points, muscles or joints until a warming sensation is felt by the patient.
The oils in the smoke permeate the skin and along with the heat from the burning leaf, provide a penetrating, therapeutic warmth. This technique sends the healing oils from the Moxa deep into the patient’s tissues and Acupuncture meridians, expelling cold, dispersing accumulated stagnant fluids and blood and restoring normal circulation.
MOXA's USE FOR SPORTS INJURIES & CHRONIC PAIN
Moxibustion is purposeful for many kinds of conditions. It is commonly used in treating subacute sports injuries (after inflammation and redness have subsided), but works equally well with chronic aches and pains. Chronic pain can be the result of osteoarthritis, bone spurs, areas of the body that feel cold to the touch, or joints that ache in damp, cold weather.
MOXA FOR WOMEN'S HEALTH
Just as commonly, it is therapeutically used for woman's health conditions, such as infertility (circulatory issue), painful menstrual cramps, amenorrhea (absence of menses), and / or menstrual-related back pain.
TURNING BREECH BABIES
Moxibustion is extremely successful with encouraging the rotation of breech babies into a proper head down (cephalic) position. In fact, a landmark study published in the Journal of The American Medical Association (JAMA) in 1998 demonstrated that moxibustion on the acupuncture point "UB 67" prompted breech babies to rotate into normal cephalic (head down) position in 75% of cases. The study also showed that for maximum benefit, moxa therapy should be commenced by at least 33-35 weeks into the pregnancy.
MOXA FOR DIGESTION AND IMMUNE-DEFICIENT CONDITIONS
Acupuncturists / Chinese Medicine Practitioners also apply moxa to any number of digestive and immune-related conditions. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), indigestion, bloating, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal challenges respond well to the warming nature of moxibustion. As well, it is very applicable patients who are deficient, immuno-compromised, and /or have hypo-metabolic diseases that have depleted a person's energy.
It's wonderful for everyday aches and pains as well - Mugwort has a long history of use in folk medicine. It is believed that the Romans planted mugwort by roadsides to make it available to travelers to put in their shoes to relieve aching feet and protect them from exhaustion. It has benefits for minor low-back pain or soreness from sitting all day, and can speed recovery from a painful shoulder, wrist or ankle after a twist or fall.
ASK YOUR PRACTITIONER ABOUT MOXA
Moxibustion is best performed by a trained Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner to ensure the safety of the patient, and accuracy of the technique. It should not be used over open wounds or lesions, blistered skin eruptions, with decreased skin sensitivity or tingling, or during the stage of an acute injury when it is still inflamed, hot and painful.
If you are curious and would like to know more - we are happy to answer your questions - just give us a call. (917) 210-1063
Phil Veneziano, M.S., L.Ac.
Cristina R. de La Mar, M.S., L.Ac., Doula
Seven Point Wellness is an Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine Clinic located at 187 Millburn Ave., Suite #101 in Millburn, NJ, in the Trader Joe / CVS Business Complex.
We are an easy drive from Maplewood, South Orange, Short Hills, Livingston and most cities in Union, Morris and Essex County, NJ and abundant free parking. We're also an easy walk from the New Jersey Transit via bus or train.
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