The Benefits of Moxibustion

Traditional Chinese medicine is a medical system that incorporates numerous methods for treating disease and illness. One of the tools found in the toolbox of the Traditional Chinese medicine practitioner is known as moxibustion.      

Moxibustion is a technique that involves the burning of mugwort, known as moxa, which is an herb that facilitates healing. The purpose of moxibustion is to stimulate the flow of Qi (pronounced “chee”), strengthen the blood and maintain general health. Qi is translated as life energy. There are two types of moxibustion, direct and indirect. Direct moxibustion uses moxa that is shaped into a small cone and is placed on top of an acupuncture point and burned. This type of moxibustion has two subcategories, scarring and non-scarring. Non-scarring moxa allows for the moxa to be placed upon the acupuncture point, lit and extinguished or removed before it burns the skin.  Non-scarring moxibustion creates a pleasant heating sensation that penetrates deeply into the skin, but does not create a scar or any pain. Scarring moxa burns until it distinguishes on its own. This may lead to localized scarring and blisters. Indirect moxibustion is the more popular of the forms. In indirect moxibustion, a practitioner lights one end of a stick of moxa and holds it close to the acupuncture point for several minutes until the area turns red.

Moxibustion can be used for many reasons because it provides many benefits. The first benefit of moxibustion is it is warming to the body. Many people who have autoimmune diseases, low immunity and blood conditions are frequently cold. The warming properties of moxa make it a great choice for these types of conditions.

Moxa is also a good choice for those suffering from aches and pains. The warming properties of moxa allow it to increase blood flow by warming the blood. Increased blood flow means increased oxygenation to the tissues, muscles and tendons that are sore.

Another benefit of utilizing moxibustion is increased immunity. Studies have shown moxibustion significantly increases the white blood cell count in the body, which is the major component of the immune system. Moxa strengthens the immune system and helps re-balance autoimmune diseases.

Despite the fact moxibustion involves the burning of mugwort, it has been shown to be very beneficial for cooling areas of inflammation. This again goes back to blood flow.  Moxa improves blood flow to areas of inflammation, while promoting the natural radiation function of the skin. This also works on chronic inflammation diseases like arthritis.

As moxibustion has many benefits and can be used to treat multiple diseases and ailments, it might be a good addition to a person’s health regimen. It is recommended that only properly trained and fully licensed practitioners be used and a quick internet search can easily provide the names of those located nearby. There’s never a better time than now to start incorporating healthy living habits.

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Secrets Acupuncturists Use to Stay Healthy

Staying healthy means something different for everybody. For most, it means getting proper rest, eating a balanced healthy diet and exercising regularly. Here are some secrets many acupuncturists incorporate into their regimen.  

Wearing Scarves

Most people wear scarves during the fall and winter months, but acupuncturists will wear scarves almost year round to protect their necks from drafts. In traditional Chinese medicine, the back of the neck is where cold pathogens are thought to enter the body. Even sitting in an air-conditioned building all day during warm months of the year can cause people to get sick.

Green Tea

Green tea is known to be very healthy in comparison to its other tea cousins. Acupuncturists have known this for quite some time, and most drink it to boost immunity as well as increase the amount of antioxidants in their bodies. Antioxidants fight off free radicals, which age the body and can lead to disease.

acupuncture herbs


Ingesting herbs for their numerous health benefits has been a practice for thousands of years. Some of the favorites for acupuncturists include licorice root (gan cao), Chinese wolfberry (gou qi zi), cinnamon twigs (gui zhi), ginseng root (ren shen) and mugwort leaves (ai ye).

Licorice root (gan cao) boosts the spleen-meridian energy, which helps with digestion and muscle tissue condition.

Chinese wolfberry (gou qi zi) increases liver, lung and kidney meridian energies. This herb can help with sore back and leg muscles, as well as eye-muscle strain.

Cinnamon twigs (gui zhi) are a warming herb that boost heart-meridian energy. It is used frequently to help fight off colds.

Ginseng root (ren shen) also increases spleen-meridian energy, which helps with digestion and improves immune responses.

Mugwort leaves (ai ye) are another warming herb that targets the spleen, liver and kidney energetic meridians. Acupuncturists use ai ye to stop pain and disperse cold that is attacking the body. This herb, however, is usually ground up and burned over certain acupuncture points instead of taken internally.


When our body core becomes cold, it can wreak havoc on all of our internal organs and this can then drain our energy and cause illness. One secret weapon used to keep the body core heated is something called a harimake. Harimakes are Japanese in origin, very simple and very effective. Harimakes are usually made from flannel or soft wool. They are wide bands of cloth that cover the abdomen from just above the waist to about six inches below the waist and they are worn under your clothes. Harimakes are used to conserve body warmth and energy, thus protecting your body from stress, exhaustion and illness.

These are just a few of the health secrets acupuncturists use. Even more important than these, though, is getting proper sleep, eating well, avoiding excess stress and getting regular acupuncture treatments. Even acupuncturists get regular treatments, because we know we can’t help you if we don’t take care of ourselves first.

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Winter Acupuncture: Governing Vessel 14

Governing Vessel 14 is called The Great Hammer. This point is located below C 7 on the spine. C 7, the seventh cervical vertebrae is the one which is the most prominent. Traditionally the vertebrae were referred to as hammers because of their resemblance to the tool. This point is great because it is the intersecting point for all of the Yang meridians in the body. In winter time, this point is often used to treat colds and other illnesses that are common this time of year. continue reading »

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Five Self Care Tips for Winter

Traditional Chinese medicine teaches that humans should live in harmony with the seasons. According to traditional Chinese medicine there are five seasons: winter, spring, summer, late summer and fall. Each season has many associations that help us change our habits, allowing for a more balanced mind and body. When these systems were being developed, people were living in harmony with nature. People rose with the sun, ate what was available during the different seasons and they were much more aware of their natural environment. What to wear, when to wake up, when to go to sleep and what activities to engage in were all dependent on the weather and the environment. Because of this, people were capable of staying healthy throughout the year and their immune and organ systems were strong enough to ward off disease. continue reading »

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3 Reasons Acupuncture Supports Couples Facing Infertility

When you consider all the changes in our agricultural practices, the increased number of medications we take, as well as our dependence on plastic and technology that is constantly emitting low-grade radiation, it’s no surprise more couples are having trouble conceiving. Current statistics show one in six couples who are trying to conceive are facing fertility issues. And while many times infertility is thought of as a female issue, it is really a factor for both the man and woman and should therefore be addressed as such. continue reading »

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