Moxibustion therapy is often used in conjunction with acupuncture. It is the burning of moxa, which is made from dried mugwort herb. It can be used as soft wool rolled into small cones, or more commonly found in rolled up cigar-shaped sticks. Moxibustion is performed over specific acupuncture points, and over regions that are required to be warmed. The action of burning moxa is meant to stimulate the flow of blood and Qi in the meridians. It also has the effects of warming the meridians to relieve pain and treat disease.
Compacted moxa wool can be made into cones, which are then placed directly onto the skin and then burned. The cones are removed before they finish burning in order to avoid scarring. In some cultures, the cones are left to burn to the skin and produce a scar. Mediums can be used between the cone and the skin, such as ginger, salt and garlic. These are meant to enhance the therapeutic actions of moxibustion. The cones can also be attached the top of acupuncture needles once they have been inserted into the body. This technique is called ‘warm needling’. Another method of warm needling is applying the lit processed moxa sticks to the head of the acupuncture needle.
In Chinese Medicine theory, Moxibustion therapy is hot in nature. It is therefore used to treat conditions that are caused by cold or damp. Examples are diarrhoea, arthritis, pain, cramps, spasms and convulsions. A combination of acupuncture and moxibustion is often beneficial in the treatment of these diseases.