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What is Moxibustion Acupuncture?

Some people find that the local Chinatown is a good place to look for an acupuncturist.
The purpose of acupuncture is to stimulate the flow of vital energy, also known as qi.
Moxibustion acupuncture may be useful for women suffering with menstrual cramps.
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  • Written By: Niki Foster
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Images By: Guillaume Baviere, Photok21, Ana Blazic Pavlovic
  • Last Modified Date: 15 July 2014
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Moxibustion acupuncture is a practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), in which burned moxa, or mugwort, is used in conjunction with acupuncture needles to stimulate the acupuncture points of the body. The practice of moxibustion, which may or may not be used with acupuncture needles, is ancient, and some believe it may even predate the use of acupuncture.

Acupuncture is based on the belief that channels called meridians run throughout the body carrying blood and vital energy. Acupuncture seeks to stimulate the flow of qi, or vital energy, and to balance qi and the complementary forces yin and yang in the body. It claims to promote general health and well-being, as well as addressing specific health issues.

Moxibustion acupuncture is a form of indirect moxibustion. In direct moxibustion, an older practice, mugwort is burned directly on an acupuncture point, either until it is completely burned out, or until the burning portion reaches the skin. The former method is called scarring moxibustion and can produce pain and scars. Mugwort can also be burned on top of a slice of ginger to protect the skin from scarring.

One form of indirect moxibustion uses a cigar-shaped moxa stick held close to an acupuncture point as it is burning, but not placed directly on the skin. In moxibustion acupuncture, a needle is inserted in an acupuncture point and moxa is burned on its tip. The needle conducts the heat into the acupuncture point, but there is no burning directly on the skin.

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Mugwort has traditionally been used for patients suffering from cold or dampness, and to stimulate blood flow to the pelvic area and uterus. Mugwort has a long history of therapeutic use in Europe, the Americas, and other Asian countries outside of China. Moxibustion acupuncture can be helpful for menstrual cramps, and has been used to reverse the direction of breech babies, allowing for natural delivery. A study presented in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1998 found that moxibustion was effective in changing the baby's direction in up to 75% of women with breech babies.

When mugwort burns, it emits a lot of pungent smoke, which can be uncomfortable for some patients, particularly those with respiratory problems. However, smokeless moxa sticks are now available. Moxibustion acupuncture should not be used on patients diagnosed with too much heat according to TCM, as it is traditionally indicated for those with too much cold.

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Discuss this Article

anon352843
Post 4

I recently, like a week ago, spent two weeks in the Dominican republic for medical treatment. The doctor did the moxibustion and it was awesome. No pain, no hurt. I was told by three American doctors I had levator ani syndrome/chronic pelvic pain syndrome. Lies, lies, lies. I had a mechanical problem and needed my body adjusted.

Prior to the moxibustion treatment, my awesome doctor there hit the trigger points to open them up. My body was so locked up the pain was unbearable, and I could hardly walk. After nine treatments of full body work, I am now walking, bending over, crossing my legs, and I could go on.

The doctors in the U.S. do not know what they are doing. They want to keep you medicated with only treating symptoms, not solutions, and to keep their wallets padded with he almighty dollar.

There are other ways of getting well, besides drugs and surgery. Diet changes must be made, exercise, and you telling your body it is a machine and you can do it.

I was told I needed a hip replacement, had chronic arthritis -- all lies, lies lies. If it can happen for me, it can most definitely happen for you. I am on my way to a full, healthy recovery , thanks to God and one doctor out of seven in the world who knows what they are doing in treating people. And the cost was $25 a day. Now you tell me where in the us would you find that?

This is a true testimony. I suffered for three years and lost my job due to it. God bless you. Do not give up. You too can be cured. Believe in your recovery and your cure.

ysmina
Post 3

@fify-- I had moxibustion acupuncture done when I was in China where it was quite popular. I've been suffering from stomach ailments for a long time. My stomach is just always sick, nauseated, cramping and hurting. My close Chinese friend said that in her family, they usually get moxibustion for pain relief and asked me if I would like to go to one. I agreed.

If you go to a practitioner who has experience and knows what they're doing, you won't have any problems. When I went to the moxibustion practitioner, I just lied down on her table. She placed acupuncture needles and then took the cigar shaped smoking mugworth to heat the area. When it started to get hot, she moved the cigar away and wiped the area with her hands.

It never felt burning hot and I definitely did not get burnt or hurt in the process. I just felt extremely relaxed, calm and comfortable. The cramps that I was having on the way to the session were gone by the end. But the practitioner told me that this would be a temporary effect and that it takes at least six to eight weeks for more long-term benefits.

Unfortunately, I left China soon after that but I'm looking for a moxibustion acupuncture practitioner here now.

fify
Post 2

I've never tried moxibustion but have been going for Japanese acupuncture for my sinus infections for quite some time.

I believe in acupuncture, it works! It has for me anyway. Sometimes modern medicine reaches its limits and it's okay to try other safe methods of treatment and acupuncture is the safest it gets. Much safer than things like hypnotherapy in my opinion.

When I get a sinus infection, it only takes 1-2 acupuncture sessions for relief. It helps drain my stuffed sinuses and clear up the infection. I do sometimes have to support with antibiotics though.

Moxibustion sounds like it would be a good alternative for when I catch colds in the winter. In winters I feel like my immunity is really poor and I catch colds and viruses way too often.

Has anyone had a moxibustion acupuncture with flames? Do you think that's safe? As much as I love acupuncture, I wouldn't want to get burned having it done.

burcidi
Post 1

My dad has been getting clinical acupuncture and moxibustion for an overactive inflamed bladder and he has benefited from it a lot. The urgency has decreased, he doesn't rush to the bathroom as often as he used to. He also used to have pain while urinating which seems to have gone away completely.

I was never in the room with him while he has a moxibustion acupuncture session. But from what he says, he doesn't feel the needles at all, just a slight warming of the area where they are. They use the smokeless moxa sticks so there is no odor or anything. I think it helps him spiritually and psychologically too. He's always so relaxed and calm after a moxibustion session.

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