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What is moxibustion?


Moxibustion is a therapeutic method consisting in burning combustible materials (Artemisa vulgaris) or in applying drug compresses or dry-plasters on acupoints.

Moxibustion with moxa roll

It is an external method for preventing and treating diseases by ignition through moxa to stimulate the acupoints.

"Sparrow pecking" method with moxa roll

The material mainly used is moxa wool which is made of the leaves of Artemisa vulgaris. The leaves of this plant has been used for several thousands of years by acupuncturists. It has the function of warming meridians and expelling cold, to induce the smooth flow of qi and blood, to reduce swelling and to disperse accumulation of pathological factors, preventing illness and reinforcing the body strength, by the use of moxa cones, moxa sticks and by warming needles. Moxibustión with moxa cones can be divided into two types, direct and indirect.

A piece of moxa roll on the needle handle.

Direct moxibustion: A moxa cone placed directly on the skin and then ignited is called direct moxibustión. This type of moxibustión is subdivided into non scaring moxibustión and scaring moxibustión according to the different degrees of burning produced on the skin after moxibustión.

Moxibustion with moxa cone

Non-scaring moxibustión: A proper size moxa cone is placed directly on a point and is ignited until the skin becomes reddish but with no blisters so no scars should be seen after moxibustión. Prior to moxibustión a small amount of Vaseline should be applied on the area around the acupoint in order to increase the adherence of the moxa cone to the skin.
Place the moxa cone on the acupoint and light. When 3/5th or 3/4ths of the moxa cone is burnt or when the patient feels pain, remove the cone and repeat the operation. This method is applicable to cold deficiency syndromes (Xu).

Indirect moxibustion with salt

Scaring moxibustion: Put a moxa cone directly on the acupoint and light. This method is characterized by a local blister, suppuration and a scar on the skin around the point before healing. Prior to moxibustión garlic juice should be applied on Skin. Then put a moxa cone on the point and light until it burns out completely, remove the ashes and repeat this procedure according to the required units of moxa cones. After each unit of moxa cone is burnt apply garlic juice on the point. If the patient feels a burning pain during moxibustión the acupuncturist may slap the skin gently around the point in order to alleviate pain.

Indirect moxibustion with ginger

Dra. Cecilia Y. Cáceres