Moxibustion

Moxibustion is a type of heat therapy; it involves the burning of the herb Artemisia vulgaris, which is called moxa. Moxibustion has ancient roots, which are tightly intertwined with acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine, and as a result, moxibustion can be used in a variety of ways. Traditionally, moxibustion is divided into two types, direct and indirect. In the direct type, burning moxa is placed directly on the skin’s surface over acupuncture points. This practice often leaves scars. (Not to worry, though, at the Advanced Holistic Center’s Downtown Miami moxibustion and Miami Beach moxibustion, our therapists practice indirect moxibustion.) Most often, (1) moxa in the form of small clumps is placed on a needle handle, (2) moxa sticks are burned over specific points or areas, or (3) factory-made tiny moxa cigarettes are placed over acupuncture points. Since some patients may object to the moxa smell or may be allergic to its smoke, at the Advanced Holistic Center’s Downtown Miami moxibustion and Miami Beach moxibustion our practitioners also use several kinds of smokeless moxa. These are new tools that are either designed with moxa but do not emit smoke, or do not use the herb at all, rely on a precisely regulated heating device that allows therapists to warm very small areas on the skin’s surface or acupuncture points.

moxa in a brown bowl in Miami - photo, image
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conducting a moxibustion therapy in Miami - photo, image

How Does Moxibustion Work?

Similar to acupuncture, in which specific points on the body are stimulated with needles, moxibustion points are stimulated using heat. From the traditional standpoint, moxibustion can boost or invigorate the circulation of qi in the meridians, but acupuncture tends to release excess qi—although, different points have distinct functions, and strategically designed point combinations or variations in their stimulation can produce different or even opposite effects. In classical Chinese texts, certain points are contraindicated for specific conditions or patterns of organ imbalance, but the ultimate goal remains the same: to restore the optimal functional balance among solid and hollow organs of the body. The limited number of research studies conducted on moxibustion suggests that moxibustion may be capable of boosting the immune system and enhancing some physiological functions in the body. At the Advanced Holistic Center’s Downtown Miami moxibustion and Miami Beach moxibustion, our practitioners rely primarily on traditional or widely accepted and time-tested techniques of moxibustion use in the clinic, but they also pay close attention to new discoveries in their field.

What Is Moxibustion Used for?

Since heat and cold are important concepts in traditional Chinese medicine, and moxibustion, unlike acupuncture, produces heat, point selection would vary from condition to condition and patient to patient between moxibustion and acupuncture therapies. As the authors of an article on the moxibustion mechanisms published in the academic journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine point out, citing one ancient Chinese text, “where needle does not work, moxibustion does.” When moxa burns, it produces temperatures between 548°C and 890°C, and a tiny cone burning near the skin surface produces about 56°C inside the skin. While moxibustion can be used as a stand-alone treatment for many conditions, modern acupuncturists, including the therapists at the Advanced Holistic Center’s Downtown Miami moxibustion and Miami Beach moxibustion, tend to combine moxibustion and acupuncture, to speed up the results and increase the treatment’s success rates. For example, when a patient suffers from lower back pain, acupuncture can reduce the pain and the spasm, but combining acupuncture with moxibustion can bring the results sooner and they typically last longer.

Something Else

Advanced Holistic Center is a NYC based acupuncture and holistic healthcare clinic. Advanced Holistic Center has more locations and longer open hours than almost any complementary and alternative healthcare facility in all of NYC. With four offices manned by our fully licensed and board certified acupuncturists and herbalists, a team of highly-qualified: assistants, meditation teachers.

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Is Moxibustion Safe?

There were some health concerns about the toxicity of moxa smoke since much of it can be inhaled during treatments, but an article published in the scholarly journal Acupuncture in Medicine concluded, “There are no immediate concerns arising from the continued use of moxa as a therapeutic modality in traditional Chinese medicine.” There are always concerns about possible burns during moxibustion treatment, and therapists often use specially designed factory-made pads and coasters. If practitioners do not use loose-herb moxa, a practice typical at the Advanced Holistic Center’s Downtown Miami moxibustion and Miami Beach moxibustion, then the risk of burns decreases exponentially, because prefabricated moxa cones burn inside tiny containers, so the hot moxa does not fall on the patient’s skin. When using modern electrical devices that produce the moxa’s heat without smoke or actual burning, then the dangers of being burnt become as minimal as they can be; although, some therapists prefer to use the traditional herb, because from the classical viewpoint moxa’s smoke has therapeutic effects just as much as moxa’s heat qualities.

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Does it hurt?

Advanced Holistic Center is a NYC based acupuncture and holistic healthcare clinic. Advanced Holistic Center has more locations and longer open hours than almost any complementary and alternative healthcare facility in all of NYC. With four offices manned by our fully licensed and board certified acupuncturists and herbalists, a team of highly-qualified: assistants, meditation teachers.