Moxa, short for moxibustion, is such an important part of Chinese Medicine, that it is actually combined with the word acupuncture to make up the single Chinese word that means both acupuncture and moxibustion, Zhenjiu. While moxa may not be as popular as acupuncture in the western world, it is certainly a very beneficial treatment for all sorts of ailments, as well as very comforting preventative and longevity medicine.
This is an external treatment involving the use of dried mugwort leaf (Artemesia) which is burned over certain areas of the body or directly on the skin. There are many different methods for administering moxa to the body. Its benefits include: warming parts of the body that are cold, bringing fresh qi (energy) and blood to areas that are deficient or injured, and helping to reduce swelling or what is sometimes known as dampness in terms of Chinese Medicine.
It is important to have good guidance from a trained professional before using moxa because it is contraindicated in certain conditions. Most conditions can be treated in some way with moxa, but you will want to be careful and have good understanding of how it works so that you do not end up aggravating certain problems.
I personally love to use moxa for my joints which tend to get a little swollen when I overuse them. I also love to warm my abdomen with moxa when my menstrual cycle is coming, to help with smooth flow (and it is a very powerful treatment to help boost fertility!). I am sure to drink a lot of water when I do moxa because I also tend to be of the constitution that runs a bit on the dry side. Some acupuncture points that I find to be consistently comforting while using moxa are ST36, Ren6 and KD3. I use KD1 with moxa when I have trouble sleeping. It powerfully pulls the energy out of my overactive mind to the soles of my feet, grounding me for better rest.
This treatment can leave a lot of smoke in the area where you burn it, which is bothersome to some people. It is also why I do not use this treatment in my clinic, since the Medical Arts Building does not allow its tenants to burn anything that causes smoke. Instead, I teach my patients how to use moxa on themselves and give them points to work with based on their diagnosis. Using moxa in a well-ventilated area, possibly on a patio or porch, will prevent the smoke from permeating your household. I hope the smoke will not deter you from discovering the amazing benefits of this warming and energizing therapy.
Please see the video below for instructions on how to use a moxa stick. Feel free to send your feedback or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.