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7 Moxibustion Benefits: What This Ancient Technique Can Do for You 

Moxibustion benefits your health by addressing conditions triggered by a Yang Deficiency. It may also help a breech-position foetus turn around naturally.

Woman lighting up mugwort leaf fluffs that are placed on specific points on another woman’s abdomen.

An ancient Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treatment, moxibustion benefits your health by: 

  • Warming and nourishing the body through the 12 meridians 
  • Regulating blood and qi (vital life force) flow 
  • Dispelling Cold and clearing Blood Stasis 

A qualified practitioner will burn mugwort leaves that are ground to fluff or shaped like a cigar. It may complement acupuncture or be burned indirectly on your skin.

Read on to discover the many benefits and precautions that you should take when considering the treatment.  

The Primary Functions of Moxibustion Treatment 

The most notable application of moxibustion is to address Cold and Deficiency syndromes.

“Cold is one of the Six Evils in TCM and can injure your yang (active energy). It may induce shivering and impair the body’s circulation and metabolic functions. In addition, Cold slows down blood and qi flow and can lead to Qi Stagnation and Blood Stasis, causing pain and stiffness. Excess amounts of the pathogenic factor will disrupt Spleen yang and lead to a stomachache, diarrhoea, or vomiting,” explain Eu Yan Sang Physician Vong U Chan. 

There are three ways moxibustion regulates internal imbalances. These are: 

  • Warm dredging (温通): To cleanse the body’s meridians, boosts flow of fluids and blood circulation and warms the body. Provides pain relief
  • Warm resolving (温化): Reduces phlegm, removes excess fluid in the body for a light feeling
  • Warm nourishing: (温补) Nurtures blood, relieves depletion, enhances the flow of fluids in the body, enhances energy and warmth 

The Different Ways Moxibustion Benefits Your Health 

To maintain your general wellness, moxibustion alleviates fatigue, weakness, and age-related issues. Likewise, it’s also useful in the treatment of several health conditions. 

Breech pregnancy 

Indirect moxibustion helps a foetus lying in a breech position – feet-first in the uterus – to turn around naturally. Apply the treatment near the zhi yin (BL67, 至阴) acupoint at around 34 weeks. 

Zhiyin is located on the lateral side of the small toe, about 0.1 cun from the corner of the nail.

Health problems associated with Cold or a Yang Deficiency

Woman leaning forward while placing both hands over her genital area
Urinary incontinence is a common disorder that can be treated with moxibustion.

A number of health conditions that can be eased through the modulation of Cold or a Yang Deficiency include: 

 How to Combine Acupuncture and Moxibustion

Licensed TCM practitioners believe that combining acupuncture and moxibustion together can enhance the efficacy of both treatments. You can perform moxibustion yourself, but acupuncture must be done by a professional.

The burning end of the moxa stick should be pointed towards each acupoint, two to three centimetres away from the skin. Hold it in the same position for 10 to 15 minutes. Your skin should feel warm and comfortable, and the process should be repeated once or twice weekly. 

Consulting a TCM practitioner will help you identify your specific syndrome and if moxibustion benefits you. It’s also important to note that you shouldn’t use the treatment if you have a Yin (passive energy) Deficiency or excess Heat or Yang. It’s also unsuitable if you have a high fever or chronic fatigue and weakness. 

Under some circumstances, moxibustion may provoke the onset of various side effects, such as: 

  • An allergic reaction  
  • Basal cell carcinoma (type of skin cancer) 
  • Dark patches of skin  
  • Nausea and vomiting  
  • Sore throat or coughing  
  • Foetal distress and premature birth  

If used wrongly, direct moxibustion can burn the skin, and result in scarring, discolouration, and pus development. Pregnant women should inform a TCM practitioner if they have an allergy to mugwort or are sensitive to smoke.  

More importantly, you should get sufficient rest, stay hydrated, and not shower immediately after a session to reap maximum moxibustion benefits.

References

  1. Wikipedia. Moxibustion. [online] [Accessed 13 December 2022] 
  2. Cleveland Clinic. 2022. Moxibustion: What Is It and Does It Work? [online] [Accessed 13 December 2022] 
  3. University of Minnesota. Moxibustion. [online] [Accessed 13 December 2022] 

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