The Art of Moxibustion


Clients have often asked me in my practice what is Moxa, and how can it be used for healing the body?

Moxa has been used in Oriental Medicine for centuries and is made from the herb MUGWORT also  known as Artemisia vulgaris latiflora.  The plant is prepared by stripping the leaves from the stems and then grinding, and drying to make a substance that is called Moxa wool. Moxa comes in sticks or can be made into small cones.

Moxa is used during a treatment to warm the client when there is a cold condition in the body. For example; if I touch a client’s feet, hands , legs, lower back or abdomen and there is a cold sensation, I may choose to use moxa.Also; if the client’s pulse is slow, and they have a pale face moxa is often indicated.I may ask them if they feel consistently cold and need extra layers of clothes even when it is warm outside. Do they prefer to drink warm drinks and do they avoid cold drinks?

I generally use more moxa during the winter months or during cold and damp weather. First I apply the moxa to the acupuncture points and then I insert the needle. The moxa warms the point and the needle takes the heat into the acupuncture point, for a stronger therapeutic effect. The client will tell me if the moxa gets too hot and the moxa is removed immediately.

There are contraindications for Moxa treatments – some of these are high blood pressure, hot flashes, or diabetic neuropathy. According to many text books; moxa is not used on the face or on the lower back or abdomen of  pregnant women. After childbirth though a moxa stick can be applied to the lower abdomen and moved in a circular motion to warm the entire lower abdomen helping the mother to warm up after loss of blood and to help the uterus return into position.

I have been using moxa in my practice since 1999 and have had great results with clients with cold conditions.