Moxibustion – The Important Element of Traditional Chinese Medicine

Moxibustion (also moxa therapy, moxa) is a component of traditional Chinese medicine, an effective treatment system that has been around for thousands of years. Moxibustion originated from the cold mountain region of Northern China. According to the principles of traditional Chinese medicine, it is supposed to treat diagnosed cold areas of the body as well as symptoms of exhaustion. Defined points on the skin along the meridians, (channels in which life energy qi flows), are stimulated by warming them. The warming effect is carried out by burning small amounts of Chinese mug wort. It consists of dried mug wort, a healing, spice plant, which is burned slowly and evenly, producing particularly mild and effective warmth.

In terms of Chinese conception, the externally applied warmth turns energetic cold and dampness away, encourages the flow of qi and strengthens the yang (yang stands for body warmth and body power).

According to Chinese medicine, moxibustion can also help prevent and treat diseases. The Western idea suggests moxibustion improves circulation in the tissues, stimulates the metabolism and strengthens the immune system. The basis of any moxibustion treatment is a detailed diagnosis founded on traditional Chinese medicine. Moxibustion can be used to treat asthma, bronchitis, chronic pain, muscle tension as well as back pain. Moxibustion can be used for many reasons because it provides many benefits. The first benefit of moxibustion is it is warming to the body. Many people who have autoimmune diseases, low immunity and blood conditions are frequently cold. The warming properties of moxa make it a great choice for these types of conditions.

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

Another benefit of utilizing moxibustion is increased immunity. Studies have shown moxibustion significantly increases the white blood cell count in the body, which is the major component of the immune system. Moxa strengthens the immune system and helps re-balance autoimmune diseases.

Despite the fact moxibustion involves the burning of mug wort, it has been shown to be very beneficial for cooling areas of inflammation. This again goes back to blood flow. Moxa improves blood flow to areas of inflammation, while promoting the natural radiation function of the skin. This also works on chronic inflammation diseases like arthritis.

As moxibustion has many benefits and can be used to treat multiple diseases and ailments, it might be a good addition to a person’s health regimen. It is recommended that only properly trained and fully licensed practitioners be used, and a quick internet search can easily provide the names of those located nearby. There is never a better time than now to start incorporating healthy living habits.


To date, few studies have tested the safety and effectiveness of moxibustion in the treatment of any health condition. Here is a look at some of the evidence related to moxibustion:

What are its benefits?

Pain management- The heat from the mona therapy can help to improve circulation, blood, and lymph flow to areas of the body, reducing pain and inflammation.

Decreases healing times of Injuries- When more blood, Qi, and Lymph are brought to areas of the body that are in pain or injured, healing times are reduced, and more mobility is seen.

Improves Arthritic pain- Especially when the pain feels better with heat and worse with cold.

Improvements in Headaches/ Decrease in Migraines- Studies have shown improvements in duration and intensity of migraines when using moxibustion.

Benefits Gynecological issues/ Menstrual pain- Moxa is often used on specific points throughout the body to help alleviate symptoms associated with the menstrual cycle. This herb has an affinity toward the uterus.

Turning Breech position of fetus- One of Moxas most well-known indications is to help turn breech position babies during pregnancy. This simple and effective technique is highly regarded within gynecology.

Boosts immunity/ Protection against flus and colds- Moxa is often used on specific points throughout the body to help boost immunity and shorten the duration of flus and colds. Studies have shown that moxa done on the acupuncture point ST 36 helps to increase white blood cell count almost immediately after the treatment.

Improvements from digestive complaints- It is extremely effective for conditions such as abdominal pain, and diarrhea. There are specific techniques that can be used for these aliments such as salt moxa or ginger moxa. With these techniques either salt or a slice of fresh ginger is placed covering the naval and then a cone of direct moxa is burnt on top of it. Depending on the patients underlying pattern will determine which one is best to treat these conditions. These techniques of moxa help to alleviate pain and regulate the large intestines re-absorption of water. 

Vitality Boosting/Longevity promoting benefits- There is a robust history from ancient China and Japan that talks about the daily usage of moxibustion on an acupuncture point called Stomach 36 (Zu San Li). This point is located one hand-width below the patella within the depression on the lateral side of the bone (tibia). This simple daily self-care routine is one of Chinese Medicines’ most “famous” preventative therapies. The daily usage of indirect or direct moxa on this point helps to increase ones vitality and longevity. Some of This points’ actions and indications are known to help stimulate the immune system, enhance digestion as well as help treat diarrhea and constipation. It can also increase endurance, alleviate cramps, regulate the bodies Qi, disperse stagnation, and help alleviate pain from the legs and knees.

If you are considering the use of moxibustion for any type of health condition, make sure to consult your doctor before undergoing treatment. It is especially important to talk to your doctor if you are considering the use of moxibustion while pregnant. LEAF INTEGRATIVE ACUPUNCTURE is the place to go if you want to know more about the benefits of moxibustion. They are based in Boca Raton, FL.

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