If you’ve had acupuncture treatments before, there’s a good chance your provider may have also performed the ancient practice of Moxabustion to enhance healing. This Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practice is often called the sister of acupuncture, and it can be used alone or in combination with acupuncture needles. Fun fact: the Chinese character for acupuncture actually means “acupuncture-moxibustion.”

What is Moxibustion?

Moxabustion, or Moxa for short, involves the burning of dried mugwort to stimulate specific acupuncture points on the body. Mugwort is a flowering plant (Artemisia vulgaris) in the daisy family. The leaves of the plant are dried and ground into small cones or sticks, which are then lit to burn (like incense) on the site of treatment. The effect is a warming sensation that stimulates the body’s vital energy, or qi, nurtures blood, relieves pain, and eliminates stagnation.

Direct vs Indirect Moxa

While some practitioners place moxa directly on the skin, more commonly practiced in North America is an indirect method, where the moxa doesn’t directly touch your skin. This is accomplished by:

  1. Holding the moxa an inch away from the skin
  2. Using moxa cones or sticks that have a small protective layer of material that provides a barrier between the moxa and skin.
  3. Placing the moxa on the acupuncture needles.

Healing Benefits of Moxa

Moxibustion offers a wide range of health benefits and is generally known to warm the meridians, expel cold, and strengthen yang energy. It is commonly used to improve circulation, alleviate pain, boost immunity, and promote general well-being. It is often used to treat conditions such as:

  • Arthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Back pain
  • Joint pain
  • Headaches & Migraines
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Tendonitis
  • Ulcers
  • Fatigue
  • Infertility
  • Digestive problems
  • Breech birth

Dr. Weintrob and Dr. Dishman often use stick-on Choseikyu-Moxa Sticks (indirect moxa), which are available through our Inspired Health Apothecary. These are completely safe to use at home.

Choseikyu-Moxa Sticks
Inspired Health - Integrative + Functional Medicine Center Natural Fertility Bend Oregon

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  1. Moxibustion: What Is It and Does It Work? Feb. 8, 2022.  
  2. The Mechanism of Moxibustion: Ancient Theory and Modern Research Sept 12, 2013.
  3. The Healing Power of Moxa  Oct. 6, 2016.
  4. Clinical observation on treatment of rheumatoid arthritis with cake-separated mild moxibustion combined with Western medicine  March 26, 2006.