What is Moxibustion and how does it work?

Moxibustion is a Traditional Chinese Medicine technique which requires to burn dried plant substance called “Moxa” on or close to the body skin to produce a therapeutic outcome.
Moxa is made from ground Mugwort (Folium Artemesia Argyi) leaves and can smoulder at a very high temperature without bursting into flame.
This technique can be used alone or is often used in conjunction with Acupuncture and Tuina therapeutic massage.
Once the practitioner start burning the moxa on or close to the skin, the “Qi” (energy) of moxa penetrates and travels through the meridian pathways to regulate or strengthen the “Yang”, stimulate the Qi, eliminate Cold and to remove any blockages reducing the flow of energy by stimulating the circulation of blood.

How Moxibustion can help me?

Many people use Moxibustion to help them with:
– Pain, especially in “cold” patterns or stagnant conditions where the pain naturally feels better with the application of heat,
– Great Fatigue with lack of energy,
– Arthritis,
– Digestives problems, irregular elimination,
– Gynecological and obstetrical conditions, including breech presentation in late term pregnancy…

Others choose it as a preventive measure to strengthen their constitution or because they just feel generally unwell or tired.

What type of Moxibustion is frequently used in our clinic?

Indirect moxa – (no direct contact with the ignited moxa on the skin)

– Moxa stick (our preferred method): The stick is lit with a lighter, and held 2-3 cm above the selected acupuncture point to cause a mild warmth (without burning)

– Moxa on needles to enhance the action of the needle: The needle is inserted and a pinch of moxa wrapped in ball or a small slice of moxa roll is placed on the top of the needle handle before being lit up.

Direct moxa (moxa touching the skin)

– Moxa cones: A moxa cone is placed on a point and ignited with an akabani stick. The cones vary in size from pea-sized up to the size of a date.

What does Moxibustion feels like? Patients often describe a sudden stream of warmth that quickly radiates along a specific “meridian” energy pathway or around the acupuncture point area.
This is a good sign as it signals a good flow of energy and circulation of blood.
The heating sensation diffuses into the skin but any pain, blistering or scarring should not be experienced. Moxibustion contraindications:

  • Pregnancy (unless in the last term of pregnancy where needed and safe acupuncture points)
  • Already burned, scarred area or spots
  • Decreased neurological functioning (like Diabetes) ; some drugs can also inhibit pain perception
  • Sensitive or insensitive areas of the body (like face, major arteries, fatty areas of the body…)

How many treatments will I need?

That depends on your individual constitution. Your practitioner will determine your condition during your initial consultation and normally would ask to see you once or twice a week. You may start to feel benefits after the second or third treatment although long-standing and chronic conditions usually need more time to improve. Once your health has stabilised you may need fewer treatments every month or so. Traditional acupuncture is also very effective when used as preventive healthcare and many people like to go for a “Tune up” sessions at the change of each season throughout the year.

On my initial consultation?

Your practitioner will assess your general health, medical history and physical health if needed. The initial consultation last usually between 1hour to 1 hour and half (including half an hour to one hour). Please bring the list of your medications with you if you have any, it will be required for a complete diagnosis. The practitioner will then take your pulse and examine your tongue. Once the diagnosis is determined, you’ll be asked to sit or lie down.

Should I still take my prescribed medication while having Moxibustion sessions?

Yes. While our treatment may enable you to reduce or even stop taking some forms of medication, you SHOULD NOT stop taking medication without professional guidance. Always consult your doctor regarding any change of prescription.