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What is Moxibustion and How Can it Help

Traditional Chinese Medicine is a medical system that incorporates numerous methods for treating disease and promoting wellness.  One of the tools found in the toolbox of the Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner is known as moxibustion (often nicknamed “moxa”).

Moxibustion therapy is a technique that involves the burning of an herb known as “mugwort” in English (Hb. Artemesia vulgaris) close to the body to facilitate healing.  The purpose of moxibustion is to stimulate the flow of Qi (pronounced “chee”), strengthen the blood and maintain general health.  Qi is translated as life energy.


When visiting an acupuncturist during the winter months, they may use moxa to warm your cold extremities, lower back, or even your abdomen.  Moxibustion is a form of heat treatment that stimulates specific acupuncture points and is a great way to gently warm the body with lasting effects.  We may also recommend herbs to support your immune system, manage stress, or bring the body into balance so as to help treat your chief complaint.

Moxa’s therapeutic effect is great to use in tandem with acupuncture points, enhancing and maximizing the effects of the acupuncture treatment.  At our clinic, we use moxa indirectly, meaning that the herb is not placed directly on the skin.


Moxibustion can be used for many reasons because it provides so many benefits, but one of the most common uses of moxa is to warm the body.  Many people who have autoimmune diseases, low immunity, and blood conditions are frequently cold and the warming properties of moxa make it a great choice for these types of conditions (usually those who have a cold or stagnant condition). The practice of moxibustion therapy expels cold and warms the meridians, which leads to smoother flow of blood and qi.

Moxibustion is also a good choice for those suffering from aches and pains.  The warming properties of moxa allow it to encourage blood flow by creating warmth.  Increased blood flow means increased oxygenation to the tissues, muscles and tendons that are sore.

Another benefit of utilizing moxibustion is immunity support.  Studies have shown that moxibustion increases the white blood cell count in the body, which is a major component of the immune system.  Studies have also shown that burning moxa at specific points helps the body to stave off bacterial infections, and can even help to lessen the deleterious effects of chemotherapy.

Despite the fact that moxibustion involves the burning of an herb, it’s actually been shown to also be very beneficial for cooling areas of inflammation, which again, relates to blood flow.  This technique also works on chronic inflammatory diseases, such as arthritis.

As moxibustion has many benefits and can be used to treat multiple diseases and ailments, it can be a great addition to one’s health regimen.  It is recommended that only a properly trained and fully-licensed practitioner diagnose and utilize moxibustion therapy.  There’s never a better time than now to start incorporating healthy habits into your life, so schedule your appointment today to see if moxa therapy can help you.


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