Moxibustion For Improving Your Health And Longevity

I love my work as a Licensed Acupuncturist, but I have to be honest.  Acupuncture is not my favorite Traditional Chinese Medicine modality. The one that gets me excited, that I use whenever given the opportunity is moxibustion.  It adds the most benefit to clients who are needing extra nourishment.  And what I love is that they can do moxibustion at home on themselves! 

What Is Moxibustion?

Moxibustion, or “Moxa” for short, is the burning of the mugwort herb, Artemisia species, next to acupuncture points. It’s a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) modality that is just as old and revered as acupuncture, though less known here in the West. That may change though, as TCM is becoming more widespread.

Already, researchers have declared that heat therapy in general is a promising technique, especially for low back pain. But that’s just one of the many conditions that moxibustion can effectively treat.

In the classic Chinese text Huangdi Neijing Lingshu (Miraculous Pivot of the Yellow Emperor’s Internal Classic), it states that moxibustion should be used when a disease fails to respond to acupuncture and herbs.

From a TCM perspective, moxibustion treats “cold” conditions that benefit from heat and greater circulation of qi (vital energy) and blood. It is tonifying and nourishing to the core, feels wonderful, and has a distinct aroma that most people find relaxing.

Moxibustion prevents disease and increases longevity.

A respectable amount of modern research shows that moxibustion has a positive effect on all human physiological systems, has analgesic effects, can boost immunity and affect the rate of aging.

Moxibustion is used for:

  • Joint/muscle pain

  • Stomachache

  • Menstrual cramps

  • Diarrhea/colitis

  • Hemorrhoids

  • Asthma

  • Epilepsy

  • Low immunity

  • Autoimmune issues

  • Poor circulation, cold hands & feet

  • Ending a cycle of repeated colds & flu

  • Ear infections

  • Encouraging breech babies to turn

  • Fatigue/Lethargy

  • Depression

  • Bed-wetting

  • Insomnia

How To Do Moxibustion At Home?

There are several ways to use moxa. TCM practitioners use the dried wool on the tops of acupuncture needles to warm a point or can place a small cone of moxa on salt, ginger, or another base that has therapeutic properties which is directly against the skin.

The easiest method is using a moxa stick which looks like a cigar.  The stick is burned without fire, like incense.  It’s held close to the acupoint and moved with an in and out “pecking motion” for several minutes.

What is really great about this therapy is that a practitioner can teach clients how to use a moxa stick and they can do it easily at home on themselves or with the help of a partner.

moxibustion at home on kidney 1 acupressure acupuncture point

Self-administered moxibustion
on Kidney 1 for insomnia.

What About Breathing In Moxibustion Smoke?  Is It Dangerous?

There are definite concerns about inhaling the smoke from moxa. And I always ensure that I have proper ventilation before using it. However, studies show moxibustion smoke exposure time is not a problem.

This study shows that there were no adverse effects to Heart Rate Variability (HRV) when participants were exposed to routine 25 minute exposure to moxa smoke. HRV is a measure of sympathetic nervous system stress that is typically triggered with tobacco smoke & air pollution. Further studies are warranted, but this study actually suggested that the smoke might have positive effects on the autonomic nervous system.

As you can see, moxibustion is an overall great modality to try!  It’s easy, has thousands of years of credibility behind it.  And once you try it you’ll know that it feels really good too!  You can find a TCM practitioner in your area if you want to learn in person from them.  This is one modality I can teach you how to do in online Holistic Healing Sessions too though – no in person session needed!  Please reach out if you would like my support.

I’d love to answer any questions in the comments. For those of you who’ve tried moxibustion, please let us know about your experience!

moxibustion at home for health and longevity
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Brandy Falcon L.Ac.

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