Moxibustion is a heat therapy that stimulates specific acupuncture points of the body. The term is derived from the Japanese “moxa” meaning herb (mugwort) and the Latin “bustion” meaning burning.
Moxa, in conjunction with acupuncture, can be very effective for many diseases and conditions including back pain, muscle stiffness, headaches, migraines, tendonitis, arthritis, digestive disorders, anxiety, and female health problems such as menstrual cramps, irregular periods, and infertility.
Moxa can be applied in many different ways and the expected physiological reactions from moxibustion can greatly vary depending on the type and technique used. By carefully considering the type of moxibustion, and where and how to apply it, moxibustion can be used safely and effectively for most patients.
Indirect moxibustion is applied by lighting one end of a moxa stick and holding it a few inches away from the skin, usually around the inserted needles. The goal is to bring heat to the area without burning. The intensity of the heat is adjusted according to the patient’s condition and comfort. Indirect moxa is considered to induce a gradual localized vasodilatation response. In addition to increasing the local blood flow, indirect moxibustion is extremely comforting and relaxing.
In this technique, loose moxa or a portion of moxa-stick is placed on the handle of an inserted needle and ignited to generate heat. Needle moxa delivers heat to the very deep levels of patient’s body.
Cupping is a method of relieving local congestion by applying a partial vacuum that is created in a cup, either by heat or by suction. Cupping has been used for thousands of years. Although it is often associated with Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ancient Egyptians and Greeks also used cupping therapy. In fact, the oldest recorded medical textbook, Ebers Papyrus, written in approximately 1550 BCE in Egypt, mentions cupping.
Cupping can be used for the following conditions:
Joint and muscular pain
Gua Sha is a healing technique that involves palpation and cutaneous stimulation where the skin is pressured, in strokes, by a round-edged instrument. The technique results in the appearance of small red petechiae called ‘sha’, that usually fades or disappears in 2 to 3 days. Raising sha removes pathogenic blood stagnation, promotes normal circulation and restores metabolic processes.
Gua Sha often provides immediate relief from pain, stiffness, fever, chill, cough, nausea, and other conditions. Gua Sha is valuable in the prevention and treatment of acute infectious illness, upper respiratory and digestive problems, and many other acute or chronic disorders.