By Jessica Silver, L.Ac. NCCAOM
Moxa, also known as Mugwort in English and Artemesia Vulgaris in Latin, is a very special Chinese herb which is applied externally and sometimes decocted as a tea to be taken internally. With a unique spongy texture and a long history of medical use, moxa is one of the highlights of Chinese Medicine! This article will focus on its external use.
The Chinese word "zhenjiu" -- which is now translated as "acupuncture" -- actually describes the combination of acupuncture with moxibustion, or moxa-burning. The two techniques used to be understood as two essential parts of one fundamental approach to treating disease and maintaining health. In modern American acupuncture clinics, moxa is used very frequently but still gets far less media attention than acupuncture.
There are a variety of methods for the practice of moxibustion depending on the style of treatment and the condition of the patient. Traditionally, small amounts of the herb are burned directly on the skin, but we at Aiyana Acupuncture & Chinese Herbs use indirect moxibustion style. We use cigar or pole, platform, herb insulated moxibustion. To protect our own health, we avoid inhaling the thick smoke of regular moxibustion by mainly using a smokeless moxa pole, which is a rod of charcoal impregnated with moxa. The ignited pole is held above the point or area being treated, and does not come into contact with the skin. The patient experiences a warming sensation and reports feeling very comfortable and relaxed during the treatment.
|In conjunction with acupuncture...||...moxa therapy is especially useful for treating the following conditions:|
|Pain: One of moxa's active components, borneol, is commonly used in topical therapies for its antiseptic and analgesic effects.|
Reproductive: Research has shown that moxa acts as an agent that increases blood circulation to the pelvic area and uterus and regulates menstruation.General:
- Arthritis and other painful joint conditions
- Tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, or repetitive strain injuries
- Sprains and Strains: Speeds healing of damaged tissue
- Muscle tension or stiffness: moxa relaxes tension and increases circulation
- Decrease swelling and inflammation
- Read more about pain treatment at Aiyana Acupuncture & Chinese Herbs
A few more bonus points for moxa:
- Reduce the appearance of old scars
- Boost immune system for cold and flu treatment and prevention
- Chronic autoimmune-related illness
- Open bronchial airways for asthma
- Digestive disorders such as IBS and diarrhea
- Gastric, abdominal, or intestinal pains
- It can be used for treating children or those who are severely needle-phobic. Treating acupuncture points with moxa alone can gently stimulate the action of the point just through the heat and energy from moxa itself.
- In my personal clinical experience I have observed that moxa treatment used in combination with acupuncture often allows patients to enter a more relaxed state of rest than just acupuncture treatment alone. Within the first few minutes of moxibustion, I notice that my patients' breathing becomes much deeper and slower as their body and mind let go of pent-up tension.
- Aside from being useful to treat the above conditions and as a preventative measure to maintain health, moxa has been known throughout the ages as an agent that can prolong life! Its famous reputation for promoting longevity goes back to ancient classic Chinese Medical texts.
Aiyana Acupuncture & Chinese Herbs
41 Union Square West, Suite 519
New York, NY 10003
"I originally started seeing Juliette Aiyana for TMJ. I clenched my jaw so badly at night that I would have terrible back and neck pain, as well as inner ear pain. I didn't want to just wear a night-guard, as many dentists will suggest. That to me was like putting a bandaid on a problem, rather than actually fixing the problem. There are so many things I can say about Juliette Aiyana, L.Ac.. She listens, she is thorough, she is knowledgeable, she is caring, she is enthusiastic, and she has a great laugh. And most of all, she cured me. It seems that the problem wasn't really my jaw, but a spleen qi and liver qi imbalance. Who else can tell you that but an acupuncturist?
After my jaw was better, I continued to see Juliette for overall health. I told her my husband and I wanted to start a family. Let me tell you, I was pregnant in no time at all. I don't know how much needles had to do with it, but if that's something you want and you've been having a hard time, I can't think of why you wouldn't give acupuncture a try.
It's always a pleasure to go to Juliette's office. It is calming and quiet. And when you leave, you feel healthy, happy and at peace."