The relief and relaxation of Moxibustion

Moxibustion is the name given to the burning of the herb Artemesia Vulgaris, commonly known in English as Mugwort, in Chinese as ai rong - meaning ‘velvet of mugwort’, and in Japanese as mogusa or Moxa.

It is used either on or above the skin to warm and invigorate the channels of the body and to expel Cold. It can be used to encourage the smooth flow of Qi and Blood and to strengthen the Yang, as well as to tonify the body and to prevent disease.
While is it a warming technique and therefore is especially good for the Yang, it can be used by the skilled practitioner when there is 'heat' as well. This heat is considered an inflammatory kind of heat. Low level inflammation is a constant irritation to the immune system, which is never quite fully resolved. Sometimes moxa is used to increase the 'yang' aspect of the body in these conditions of inflammation to really 'switch on the protective cellular components of the immune system to improve its functioning. There are many different techniques used in the application of moxibustion, several different kinds of moxa, and each technique and kind has a specific role to play in the overall treatment of a person’s condition.
Moxibustion can be used to:

  • Warm areas in the channels of the body that have become Cold

  • Invigorate the Yang Qi (the energy of the person)

  • Improve circulation of Blood

  • Promote movement of breech presentations

  • Break a fever and

  • Regulate the immune system

  • Disperse swelling and bruising

  • Scatter nodulation

  • Relieve pain

  • Promote healing

One of the most famous preventative health therapies using moxa is to treat a point on the lower leg called Zu San Li [ST 36], which means "Foot Three Miles" and is known to increase endurance, promote digestive power, and stimulate the immune system. Using moxa at this point everyday is said to promote longevity and wellbeing.

“A person without disease should moxa themselves for a long time (ie, regularly)…
Although one cannot obtain immortality,
one can achieve longevity of more than 100 years.

— Bian Que, 500 BC From the Bian Que Xin Shu (“Bian Que's Book of Heart Teachings”)

Moxa also has fumigative and clearing properties, similiar to white sage. As smell is processed in the brain by the olfactory bulb which is part of the limbic system, (the amygdala is where emotional responses and processes begin), the response to moxa is often one of deep familiarity, enabling us to access memory.
In eastern medicine this can sometime be considered accesssing the 'ancestoral qi' as we remember our own memories, as well as deeper feelings of connection and awareness that comes from our genetic coding. It can provide a sense of relaxation and deep familiarity

 Wakakusa or sweet grass moxa used for Chinetsukyu, cones are placed on the skin and lit to produce a slight warmth.

Wakakusa or sweet grass moxa used for Chinetsukyu, cones are placed on the skin and lit to produce a slight warmth.

 Okyu or gold punk Moxa, used for rice grain, thread, sesame sized moxa 'cones'

Okyu or gold punk Moxa, used for rice grain, thread, sesame sized moxa 'cones'

 Kyutoshin or needle head moxa. The sweet grass moxa or carbonised forms of moxa (smokeless) can be used to warm the needle and the surrounding tissue.

Kyutoshin or needle head moxa. The sweet grass moxa or carbonised forms of moxa (smokeless) can be used to warm the needle and the surrounding tissue.

 Mugwort, flowering

Mugwort, flowering

 The spiral is one of the oldest symbols. It is representative of life, as we now know the double spiral or helix is the visual representation of DNA.

The spiral is one of the oldest symbols. It is representative of life, as we now know the double spiral or helix is the visual representation of DNA.