Whenever I administer either a Reiki treatment or perform reflexology on a client, oftentimes the only acoutrements I use are Moxa sticks and my personal blend of massage oil. Moxibustion therapy was first introduced to me decades ago by my allergist, who became a licensed Acupuncturist at the University of Beijing. It is simple and surprisingly effective treatment for everything from allergies to arthritis, and the positive feedback I’ve received from administering these treatments are the reasons I maintain this practice.
I use the same brand Moxa stick as pictured here. You will find them and similar products at your local Chinese herbal shop, or online. They are inexpensive, so be sure to buy them in bulk because you will find you will be using them daily once you get used to how they work on the body.
Moxibustion is a very old, traditional Chinese medicine therapy employed by acupuncturists. It plays an important role in the traditional medical systems of China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and Mongolia. The artemisia leaf or mugwort (known as ai ye or “doctor’s grass”) is the herb used in moxibustion. It is believed to emit yang energy when burnt. Since ancient times it has been burnt to disinfect and keep sterile the air to prevent the spread of infectious disease in hospitals and patient treatment centers.
An important attribute of artemisia leaf (ai ye) is its ability to penetrate moisture and dampness. In ancient times, Chinese armies used this knowledge to find underground springs during times of war, when constant movement made easy sources of water unavailable. Soldiers would burn argy wormwood and wait for the smoke to settle. Where the smoke accumulated they would dig a well for water. Chinese medicine also takes advantage of this special property to help dispel dampness from the body. Herbalists associate dampness with decay and toxin retention because it is extremely conductive to fungi growth.
The effects of acupuncture and moxibustion are unique because they do not add any additional elements in to the body. Instead, moxibustion simply re-adjusts the body’s natural mechanisms to effectively raise their functioning ability by promoting the flow of qi, viz., by warming the meridian channels with the moxi stick, you are supplementing qi and activating blood circulation, thereby relieving the cold, which alleviates pain and promotes vital functions to cure deficiency. Because moxi treatments do not introduce foreign elements in to the body, they are the purest and most natural forms of treatment.
Suppliers usually age the mugwort and grind it up to a fluff; practitioners burn the fluff or process it further into a cigar-shaped stick. They can use it indirectly, with acupuncture needles, or burn it on the patient’s skin.
How to Use:
Ignite a moxa stick at one end and place it two to three centimeters away over the treatment site to bring a mild warmth to the local place, but not burning, for some fifteen minutes until the skin becomes slightly red. You can either manually hold the stick, or use smaller sticks or discs that are inserted into wooden applicator boxes that either sit atop the skin or are strapped onto the client.
Contraindications of Moxibustion:
1. Excess heat syndrome, or Yin deficiency syndrome, with heat signs are contraindicated to moxibustion.
2. Scarring moxibustion is prohibited on face and head, and the places closest to the large blood vessels.
3. Pregnant women are not administered moxibustion in the abdomen and lumbosacral regions.