Moxibustion is an enormous part of all ancient healing traditions throughout Asia, and the practice is still very much alive to this day. Developed in the colder areas of China, it was used as a method of combating the deleterious effects of low temperatures on the circulation of Qi and blood, which drain the body’s Yang energy. Moxibustion is accomplished by applying heat to acupuncture points and meridians through the burning of specially dried and prepared leaves of the artemisia plant (commonly known throughout the West as mugwort). In China, this prepared beige-colored “wool” is known simply as “moxa.” In the beginning, scarring and blistering the actual skin was normal. Today, you will be happy to learn, we don’t practice that way. The experience is very pleasant, soothing, and invigorating.
This therapy is used to restore and circulate the body’s Yang Qi, which warms and protects the body (as opposed to Yin, which cools and nourishes). From a Western bio-medical perspective, you can think of this as a way to increase circulation to a particular area, thereby allowing for increased activity of the body’s natural defenses and healing processes. Moxibustion can be thought of as a more precise version of using a sauna or a heating pad.
Today, the healing power of heat is also harnessed using heat-lamps, smokeless varieties of moxa, and topical herbal liniments that contain special combinations of carefully selected Chinese herbs. We use moxa every day at Advanced Holistic center for patients that suffer from illnesses that derive from an excess of Cold or a deficiency of Yang, to restore their body’s natural homeostatic balance.