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High grade moxa is usually applied in “rice grain” sized pieces directly onto an acupuncture point on the skin, which is usually protected by a thin layer of waxy paste. The “rice grain” is lit and burns for only a few seconds, this enables stimulation of the acupuncture point which has been chosen for its therapeutic effect. This procedure can be repeated at the same point many times depending on the condition being treated. It is painless and safe, only a very mild sensation is felt at the point, but does require skill concentration and dexterity from the practitioner. This type of moxibustion has been developed in Japan where there are many extremely skilled practitioners who use moxibustion as a therapy by itself.


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Moxibustion

Heat has been used for thousands of years and in many cultures as a method to relieve pain and discomfort to promote healing. In the western world we are all familiar with the hot water bottle, electric blanket, heat lamps or various heating liniments In China a system of applying heat to the body is known as moxibustion and by the Chinese character Zhen-Jiu or needle-moxa, which can be seen as an indication of how closely these two modalities are related. Some scholars of Chinese Medicine believe that moxibustion may be an older modality than acupuncture. It is possible that whilst using moxibustion on the body ideas emerged about acupuncture points and channels, which were then refined further to create the medical system which is still used by practitioners of Chinese medicine today. In China, the burning of any substance near or on the surface of the skin is known as moxibustion, the most common substance used in Chinese Medicine is the herb Artemisia Vulgaris commonly called moxa, it has been used in China for at least two thousand years. As moxa is distributed widely throughout China, it has become a popular source material for applying heat to the body. It is also thought to have special properties allowing for deep penetration of heat to the body due to the oils contained in the leaf and the fact that it burns evenly. People who experience the warming effect of moxa often report the depth and pleasantness of the heat, which also encourages deep relaxation. Moxa is used to warm the body, to stimulate the flow of qi and blood, to help with defence mechanisms in the body. Moxa is made from the dried leaves of the Artemisia Vulgaris shrub, the highest grade moxa is made from the white down which is found on the underside of the leaf.

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The leaves and twigs are ground and made into a coarser form of moxa, which can then be shaped into small cones and placed onto the body directly or with a slice of ginger between the moxa and the skin which enhances the effect of the moxa and ensures safety. It can also be placed on acupuncture needles to warm the needle which then warms the point at which it has been placed. It is made into cigar shaped sticks and used for warming larger areas of the body without touching it directly.


If you would like more information on how you could benefit from this practice, you can contact Ray Ford on (02) 9954 3342 or email admin@rayfordacupuncture.com.au for more information or to book an appointment.