Today there are various techniques in the application of moxa this includes direct or indirect moxibustion techniques. At The No1 Pain Relief Clinic we use the following moxibustion techniques:
This technique is often used today as the heat can be easily controlled by the practitioner. It involves the practitioner applying an ignited moxa stick over the chosen acupuncture point to produce a mild warming effect over the local area for approximately 5-10 minutes. Alternatively, the ignited moxa stick can be rapidly pecked over the acupuncture point or moved from left to right or in a circular motion. Once the desired effect has been achieved the moxa stick is extinguished.
Moxibustion with Warming Needle
This technique is combined with acupuncture. The acupuncturist inserts a very fine sterile needle into the selected acupuncture point and wraps the needle handle with a small unit of moxa. The moxa is then ignited to produce a mild sensation of heat in and around the surrounding area selected. Once the desired effects have been achieved the moxa is then extinguished and the needle(s) are removed.
According to traditional and Chinese medical systems, moxibustion is typically used on patients that have a cold-damp or stagnant pathogenic condition. The burning of moxa is suggested to help expel or reduce such conditions by warming the meridians by dispersing and inducing the smooth flow of blood and natural energy (Chi).
Medical studies have found that up to 75% of women suffering from breech presentations prior to childbirth had foetuses that rotated to the normal position following moxibustion when performed on a selected acupuncture point on the Bladder meridian (Cardini and Weixin 1998). Other studies have suggested that moxibustion promotes the movement of the foetus in pregnant women or may reduce symptoms of menstrual cramps when combined with acupuncture.
A possible explanation why mugwort (artemesia vulgaris) is widely used by practitioners is that research has suggested that it acts as a emmenagogue a substance that helps to promote blood circulation to the pelvic area and uterus which may help the stimulation of menstruation.
Moxibustion should be avoided by patients that are diagnosed with excess heat syndrome such as high fever as it is generally used on patients that suffer from cold-damp or stagnant pathogenic conditions. Smokeless moxa sticks can be used on request or for those patients with respiratory conditions as the burning of moxa can produce a great deal of smoke and odour.
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Cardini F and Weixin H. (1998). Moxibustion for correction of breech presentation: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 1998 Nov 11;280(18):1580-4. PMID: 9820259 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]