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

Published | 4 min read

Moxibustion is an ancient healing technique rooted in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Discover its transformative power and learn how it can enhance your well-being in this comprehensive guide.

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

Moxibustion is a form of ancient Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treatment. It 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 

Moxibustion usually uses mugwort leaves that are ground up and shaped into little cones. These cones are placed directly on the skin and lit up until it completely burns. In some occasion, it can also be used as a complement to acupuncture.

Read on to discover the many benefits and precautions that you should take when considering this Traditional Chinese Medicine 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. 

Moxibustion regulates internal imbalances in three ways. 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. 

Health problems associated with Cold or a Yang Deficiency

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 moxibustion and acupuncture together can enhance the efficacy of both treatments. You can use moxibustion yourself, but acupuncture must be done by a professional.

The end of the burning 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. As a form of heat treatment, your skin should feel warm and comfortable from the burning moxa, 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 are allergic 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.


  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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