Moxibustion is a traditional Chinese medicine technique that involves the burning of dried mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) on or near specific points on the body to stimulate healing. It is often used in conjunction with acupuncture and is considered one of the oldest forms of traditional Chinese medicine.
During moxibustion, small amounts of mugwort are shaped into cones or placed on the end of acupuncture needles. The practitioner then lights the mugwort, allowing it to smolder slowly. The heat generated from the burning mugwort stimulates the flow of “qi” (life force energy) and blood in the body, which is believed to promote healing and balance in the body’s energy pathways, known as meridians.
There are two main types of moxibustion:
- Direct Moxibustion: In direct moxibustion, a small amount of mugwort is placed directly on the skin and then ignited. The practitioner will remove the mugwort before it burns the skin too deeply, leaving a warming sensation.
- Indirect Moxibustion: In indirect moxibustion, a protective barrier, such as ginger slices or aconite (a medicinal herb), is placed between the burning mugwort and the skin to prevent burns. The mugwort is typically formed into a cone and held above the skin until the area becomes warm.
Moxibustion is believed to help with various health conditions, including pain relief, digestive issues, menstrual problems, and certain chronic conditions. However, it’s essential to note that while moxibustion is widely used in traditional Chinese medicine, its effectiveness and safety may vary depending on the condition and individual response.