Moxa or moxing is a type of heat therapy in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Moxa stick or cone is charcoal or a collection of herbs traditionally made of Chinese wormwood (Artemisia argyi). Light the moxa with fire and when it burns it creates an unusually intense heat that penetrates the body. Moxa is special because it doesn't only warm up the body but also drains excessive moisture from the body. A strong heat coming from moxa heats a part of the skin and stimulates a certain part, meridian, organ. In TCM, moxing is supposed to help with mucus congestion, increase the energy flow of qi - life energy, and increase the yang energy if our body needs it.
When moxing, the heat returns to the body and reduces the cold, moisture, and consequently mucus congestion. Mucus congestion of an organ prevents it to function properly, it takes away its vital energy and blood circulation. We often get excessive mucus from the irregular diet, stress, or humid environment.
Moxing is advised to everyone who:
have trouble being in the cold, have cold hands and feet, have shivers;
have a productive cough because of mucus congestion in the lungs;
have recurrent sinus infections, blocked nose, runny nose;
have a fatty liver;
have urogenital problems - prostate, frequent urinary tract infections, infertility, cysts, myomas;
have back pain;
have chronic bowel inflammation;
have active pneumonia, bronchitis, and other respiratory tract disorders.
Moxa therapy is also suitable for the elderly and children. Moms can safely carry out moxing therapy at home for their children in case of illness.
Smoldering moxa is to be approached to physical meridians, acupressure points, or to areas where we experience problems, for example with sinus problems we heat the area of the third eye, with lung problems we heat the chest, with urogenital problems and abdominal cavity problems we heat the navel.
Moxing can be direct or indirect. With direct moxing we place moxa cones on the skin and light them up. You have to remove the cones before they can cause pain, and the skin underneath has to be red and very warm. This type of moxing must be done by someone who is properly qualified to do that. Indirect moxing is just as effective and also much safer and we can do it ourselves. It is carried out with smoldering sticks the size of a cigar, with which we approach the skin at about 3 centimeters and warm up certain parts of the body. We need to feel an intense heat and make sure we don't burn ourselves. We have to shake off the stick during therapy so that ash doesn't fall on our skin. Therapy should be long enough for our skin to become warm and red.
Therapist often does moxing together with acupuncture as these two techniques support one another. Moxing can be carried out at all times, when necessary and with certain problems but it is most effective when done around both equinoxes. Around equinoxes, it is worth carrying out the therapy every day for a week.
Moxing therapy can be done in combination with topical administration of salt, ginger, or garlic to treat various conditions. In the case of abdominal problems, we place the salt into the navel and heat the salt which acts as a medium. This is recommended in cases of urogenital problems, hernia, chronic intestinal infections, etc. But even with the use of moxa itself, we will warm up the body and reduce the mucus congestion. When buying moxa sticks, it is recommended to choose the ones with mild scent and ones that don't emit smoke as opposed to old traditional herbal combinations which are not appropriate to use at home. Always look for smoke-free moxa.
Some therapists use moxa during high pregnancy if the fetus is inverted. In this case, indirect moxing should be used at the acupressure point BL67 on the outside of the foot. This must be done by a qualified therapist with prior consultation with the physician. In some countries such as Great Britain, some midwives and obstetricians are trained in basic acupuncture and moxing as an aid to a birth.
Dangers of moxing:
Burns and scarring with inappropriate use
Premature childbirth with inappropriate use
Nausea with excessive inhalation of moxa smoke (this cannot happen with smoke-free moxa)
Moxa can relieve us of many illnesses, but it doesn't just relieve the symptoms. Moxa acts on one of the major causes of many diseases - mucus congestion. That's why it is called a herb that cures 100 diseases. With moxing, we enable our body to flow, we enable better blood circulation and homeostasis of yin and yang energy.
For more information about moxing in pregnant women: