Moxibustion is a form of heat therapy in which dried plant materials called "moxa" are burned on or very near the surface of the skin. The intention is to warm and invigorate the flow of Qi in the body and dispel certain pathogenic influences. Moxibustion is a technique used in traditional Chinese medicine in which a stick or cone of burning mugwort, Artemisia vulgarise, is placed over an inflamed or affected area on the body. The cone is placed on an acupuncture point and burned. The cones is removed before burning the skin. The purpose is to stimulate and strengthen the blood and the life energy, or qi, of the body. The actual Chinese character for acupuncture literally translates into "acupuncture-Moxibustion." More than 3,000 years ago, during the Shang Dynasty in China, hieroglyphs of acupuncture and Moxibustion were found on bones and tortoise shells, meaning the practice precede that date. The root word, "moxa" is actually derived from the Japanese.
In traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture the use of a cone or cylinder of dried herbs is burned on or near the skin at acupuncture points to strengthen blood, stimulate qi and maintain general health. Moxibustion (Chinese: 灸; pinyin: jiǔ) is a traditional Chinese medicine therapy using moxa, or mugwort herb. It plays an important role in the traditional medical systems of China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Tibet, and Mongolia. Suppliers usually age the mugwort and grind it up to a fluff; practitioners burn the fluff or process it further into a stick that resembles a (non-smokable) cigar. They can use it indirectly, with acupuncture needles, or sometimes burn it on a patient's skin.
Moxibustion is the burning of mugwort over inflamed and affected areas of the body. The mugwort can come in sticks that closely resemble the circumference and length of a cigar. Moxa cones can also be burned. The mugwort, called Ai Ye in traditional Chinese medicine, is positioned over acupuncture points to stimulate the qi and blood. In breech presentation babies, the acu-point BL 67, located on the outside of the little toe, is stimulated. For menstrual cramps, the meridian called the Ren Channel, the center line of the lower abdomen, is treated. Moxibustion is almost always used in conjunction with acupuncture, as a complementary technique. In Japan, there are practitioners who are separately licensed to practice as specialists in Moxibustion. It is used for a wide variety of ailments, depending on the patient's needs and history. Therefore, it is difficult to cite costs and length of the treatment. For menstrual cramps, Moxibustion can be used once. For breech presentation, the turning may occur during the treatment. Similar to acupuncture, it is sometimes covered by insurance and workers' compensation. Patients can be taught how to treat themselves, and moxa sticks are easily purchased.
Moxibustion is used for people who have a cold or stagnant condition. The moxa stick is burned to warm up the blood and qi that are not circulating well. It is particularly known for its ability to turn breech presentation babies into a normal head-down position that is considered safer during childbirth. In a 1998 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, 75% of the pregnant women in the study had breech foetuses that turned in the normal position. Moxibustion significantly increases fatal movements in pregnant women. Moxibustion is also used to treat inflammations. For example, if treating a patient with tendinitis, the moxa stick is burned over the elbow area. It is also highly regarded for menstrual cramps, where the stick is waved over the abdominal area. Often, the cramps disappear immediately. Moxa on acupuncture points is frequently done with acupuncture treatment for many kinds of ailments. The treatment brings warmth and helps strengthen the activity of the blood.
Moxibustion is form of thermotherapy that started from mildly burning the areas of pain. It involves duding various kinds of medicinal herbs to the treatment. Its theoretical background is based on meridian pathways and the acupuncture points. This method developed as a method of stimulation that provides acupunctural treatments, that is as effective as pharmaceutical treatments. Today, Moxibustion is being acknowledged as a medical method that corrects the functions of body organs. The main effects of moxibustion are as following.
- Activates the cells:the atomic unit of body is cell. When the body tired or sick, the movement of cells slows down moxibustion generates protein, and it’s these proteins that circulates throughout the body and stimulate the weekened cells or revitalizes them.
- It helps to improve blood circulation: moxibustion causes blood congestion on the treated region. So if there are any regions that are congested with blood, applying moxibustion from distance can draw the congested blood. Also, moxibustion increases the contractile force of the heart muscle, enabling it to pump blood more powerfully. Furthermore, it can widen the capillary vessel for clearer blood circulation.
- Moxibution changes the blood constituents:moxibution treatment increases the red blood cells. Increased red blood cell enable better transport of oxygen to the body tissues, strengthening the body and its immunity. Moxibution also increases the white blood cells. White blood cells start to multiply within 15 minutes of the treatment, and doubles within 2 hours. Such behaviour accelerates the coagulation process, helping to stop bleeding faster and also increases body’s immune aiding substances. Moxibustion also helps to prevent acidification of blood.
- Controls the harmone discharge:harmone is made in an endocrine organand is a very important secretion of our body moxibustion controls these harmones, increasing our resistence to diseases.
- Controls the nervous system: there are many areas in our muscle where nervous is reaction is very sensitive. Moxibustion finds such reaction points, and through such spots, moxibustion treatment can control the function of internal organs, the circulating system, and the endocrine (incretory ) organ.
- Helps to ease muscle fatigue: body gets tired due to decomposition of lactic acid and glycogen, and moxibustion has the effect of absorbing the lactic acid, which had been verified from experiments.
- Controls the functions of internal organs: it helps to controls the all internal body organs.
- Relieves pain: moxibution releases muscle and blood vessel tensions, allowing better flow of blood and decomposes fatigue or pain generating substances.