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Moxibustion

--- Acupuncture without Needles

What is Moxibustion?
Moxibustion is a treatment technique of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). It involves the burning of the herb mugwort (Artemesiae Vulgaris,Moxa, Ai Ye in Chinese) on or above acupuncture points or body region for the prevention and treatment of diseases. Moxibustion used to be such an important technique in the long history of TCM that the most common Chinese term for acupuncture ("Zhen Jiu") literally means "Acupuncture (zhen) and Moxibustion (Jiu)". Today, although moxibustion is frequently used alongside acupuncture for different conditions, its importance and amazing effects of moxibustion are not fully appreciated.

How is the herb Moxa prepared?
In moxibustion, the leaves of the herb Moxa are dried, finely ground to a cotton-like texture, and then sifted until a fine, soft, and light green consistency is obtained. Moxa is rolled into a cigar-like stick or made into cones of different sizes for final application.

How does moxibustion work? Does it hurt?
There are two types of moxibustion, each has its own therapeutic properties for different pathological conditions.

Direct method: A small amount of moxa in cone-shaped is placed directly on top of an acupuncture point and burned. It can either burn out completely and lead to localized blisters and scarring after healing, or is extinguished or removed before it burns the skin so that no blistering or scarring occurs. The former has stronger effect in treatment of diseases and improving the overall health of the body. However, due to the risk of infection, pain, and permanent scarring, the scarring method is rarely used today.

Indirect method: A practitioner lights one end of a cigar-like moxa stick, and holds still, rotates in circular, or makes a pecking motion over an acupuncture point for several minutes until the area turns red. Indirect moxibustion is currently the most popular method because of little pain and a lower risk of burning. Another form of indirect moxibustion is performed by igniting a small ball of moxa wrapping the handle of an acupuncture needle inserted into an acupoint. This allows heat to penetrate through the needle and transfer deep into the acupuncture point.

Since only indirect methods of moxibustion are used in the modern society, patients usually find the procedure to be comfortable and relaxing without experiencing any pain.

Herb-insulated moxibustion
Another way of administering moxibustion is to put a medium in between the burning moxa and the skin. In this method, a small herbal cake made of a mixture of herb powder is placed on acupuncture points. A moxa cone is then placed on the cake and lit. New cones are added as the original cone burns down. The procedure is repeated for several times for about 30 - 45 minutes. This method combines the therapeutic properties of moxibustion with those of herbal formula, thus can be used to treat many difficult conditions with high rate of success.

What is the unique effect of moxibustion?
In addition to the function of stimulating the normal flow of qi and blood in the meridians, eliminating pathogenic factors in the body to maintain general health, the unique effect of moxibustion comes from the heat generated during the procedure. The effects include:

Tonify yang qi and expel coldness, dissolve swelling and lumps: Yang qi (energy) to the body is like the sun to the earth, which enervates, warms and defends the body and expels cold factors. A deficiency of yang qi results in cold symptoms such as general cold feeling, cold hands and feet, lower organ function and pathogenic factors invasion. Moxibustion has the functions of tonifying and rescuing the yang Qi, expelling cold and dampness, warming the meridians and removing obstruction. For example, moxibustion has good effect in the treatment of chronic arthritis, diarrhea, menstruation disorders, uterus tumor, asthma and chronic bronchitis, coronary heart diseases, stomachache and many other diseases. Moxibustion can turn breech babies into a normal head-down position by increasing the movement of the fetus in pregnant women.

Maintaining health and preventing diseases
Moxibustion has been traditionally used for maintaining health and preventing diseases. Some of the commonly used applications include moxibustion on leg (e.g. Zu San Li, Stomach 36) and lower abdomen for their qi enhancing, immune stimulating and anti-aging effect. These treatment and prevention effects of moxibustion have been well demonstrated in modern scientific studies.

Why is the herb mugwort used for burning? How about other herbs?
Mugwort (Ai Ye) has a long history of use in TCM. The earliest acupuncture-related literature ever excavated recorded "moxibustion meridians", instead of acupuncture meridians, suggesting moxibustion may be used earlier than acupuncture. The ancient TCM masters believed that heat generated by different herbs or woods have different curing effects. Mugwort was regarded as a perfect herb for moxibustion due to its mild, lasting and penetrating "pure yang" heat. This may still hold true even today. Research has shown that moxibustion increases blood circulation to the pelvic area and uterus and stimulates menstruation. The smoke generated during moxibustion also kills bacteria and virus.

Are there any precautions I should be aware of?
Moxibustion is mainly used for patients suffering from cold or stagnant constitutions, it should not be used on anyone diagnosed with excessive heat, especially the deficient type of heat.

Moxibustion in Golden Acupuncture Clinic
In Golden Acupuncture Clinic, we use herbal cake insulated moxibustion for the treatment of endometriosis, IBS and ulcerative colitis. We are the only clinic in the United State using this therapy for the treatment o above diseases. This therapy has several advantages for these difficult conditions:

Effectiveness: Application of this method has been clinically tested among hundreds of patients suffering from endometriosis, IBS and ulcerative colitis with great success. Results of scientific research on the mechanism including regulation of immune system and blood circulation have been published on international journals.

Comfortable and relaxing experience: This method combines the advantages of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. No pain, no bitter taste, relaxing experience without side effect.

Wide application: We have found that it is suitable for most patients with different symptoms and medical history.

Integrative treatment: Similar to acupuncture and TCM, the moxibustion treatment regulate the body as a whole so that you will benefit more than just symptom relief.

Most patients with endometriosis, irritable bowl syndrome or ulcerative colitis can benefit from this therapy.

 
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