Published: 03/10/2016 - Updated: 03/10/2016
When we hear about Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), many of us think about acupuncture or perhaps Chinese herbal medicine, but there is another related therapeutic technique that can provide interesting health benefits: Moxibustion.
Moxibustion is an alternative therapy that involves the application of heat on acupuncture points to obtain a therapeutic effect. The plant used for the moxa is Artemis, which is usually crushed to be burned in its pure form, but its leaves can also be used.
The theory behind moxibustion
The method of moxibustion is based on the theory of energy channels and is the same governing method for acupuncture. The application of heat through the moxa is, in theory, to strengthen and correct the natural energy flow of the body in certain syndromes, relieving energetic stagnation and deficiencies, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine.
By correcting the flow of energy in the body, so are bodily imbalances corrected which, in Traditional Chinese Medicine, are the source of all diseases. This technique is ideal to combat conditions such as excessive cold and moisture in the body, indicated in TCM.
You can combine the use of acupuncture and moxibustion in order to enhance the therapeutic effects of both alternatives.
Benefits of moxibustion
Moxibustion has been applied for hundreds of years in Asia, but it was only until a few years, that this unknown theraputic method became popularised in the West. Thanks to the open mindedness to new alternatives in the West, today it is possible to resort to the use of moxibustion.
This technique has been found mainly useful for certain conditions, such as:
- Back pain, stiff back and neck
- Painful menstrual-related systems
- Stimulation of appetite
- Improves blood circulation and stimulates the production of hemoglobin, resulting useful in cases of anemi
- Improving our immune system
- Combating fatigue
- Helping reduce stress
- It is useful for certain cases of infertility
- It can help regulate digestion
As additional data, moxibustion today, also applies to help position the fetus properly before birth, ie, it can be a useful tool to prevent complications of labor when the fetus is breech at birth .
There are several ways to apply the technique of moxibustion, but the best known is probably indirect method.
Indirect moxibustion: Applied through pure moxa, which transmits heat when used on various acupuncture points without touching the patient's skin, keeping a safe distance of about 4 centimeters to avoid burns.
Indirect moxibustion can also be applied with a thermi, a metal instrument consisting of a tube within another tube which helps apply moxibustion indirectly and preventing burns.
Direct moxibustion: This involves the application of cones that are placed directly on the skin and often stick. They are small, but they can cause small burns as they are in direct contact with the skin and are lit above on the protruding part of moxa.
Moxibustion with needles: This is a technique frequently used in Japan, where acupuncture and moxibustion are combined in the same session. The needle is inserted into the acupuncture point to be treated and this has a little sagebrush in the end that later on, while it may seem to generate enough heat, actually, the needle barely tempers.
Moxibustion when applied correctly does not involve serious risks, but there is always a small risk of minor burns, it should be mentioned that moxibustion and acupuncture may require several sessions to see good results.
Due to the risk of burns, one should never apply this technique near the eyes, mouth, ears or membranes such as the nose.
This therapy should be applied by an expert, who should first carry out a preliminary assessment to decide whether moxibustion is a suitable treatement for you or not.
Finally, we must keep in mind that the scent of moxa appears to be similar to marijuana, which is why many people do not apply it. However, only Artemisa plant is used in the making of the moxa.
Warnings and precautions of Moxibustion
Although it appears inoffensive, the therapy of moxibustion is not for everyone and in some cases it in not advisable and should be avoided.
The use of moxibustion should be avoided by people suffering from cardiovascular diseases, when there is a disease or febrile illness, nor is it advised for people suffering with bacterial infections.
In addition, the application of moxibustion should be avoided in pregnant women, or near skin wounds and irritated skin.
Finally, before opting for this alternative, it is important to consult an expert, because moxibustion therapy is a delicate procedure which requires specific and specialist knowledge for implementation. It should be noted that moxibustion is an alternative therapy.