Moxibustion has a long history of use in many health conditions, disease prevention and longevity.
It is commonly used in conjunction with acupuncture. It involves the use of moxa, which is a dried leaf of the mugwort plant, artemisia vulgaris. Mugwort is known in Chinese pinyin as ai ye and has been used traditionally to treat malaria and other conditions.
It is used in herbal preparations to ‘disperse cold and alleviate pain’ and is thought to build the Qi, dry excess fluids (dampness), smooth the circulation of blood and Qi and act as an emmenagogue – stimulating the blood flow in the pelvic area and uterus. Therefore it is effective at treating menstrual problems and alleviating postpartum pain. TCM practitioners also consider moxibustion to be effective in the treatment of chronic problems and deficient (weak) conditions.
Moxibustion can serve to turn breech babies. It is used on a specific point of the body for breech presentation of the foetus and is known to encourage the cephalic positioning of the foetus before intervention, therefore reducing the need for ECV (external cephalic version).
There are many different techniques of using moxa in moxa therapy. Needle warming involves moxa being placed on the acupuncture needle to warm the needle and penetrate into the local area. It enhances the relaxation effects of the treatment and is great for sore and tight muscles and internal cold conditions.
Direct moxa is very useful at stimulating specific acupuncture points and is effective in treating tendon and ligament damage.
Cigar moxa can be easily used for ‘home therapy’ in such conditions as breech presentation of the foetus and chronic pain conditions.