Moxibustion is a highly effective primary form of therapy, or a complimentary adjunctive therapy to classical acupuncture treatment. Essentially, it involves the systematic combustion of artemesia vulgaris (mugwort) in various manners and preparations to engage the acupuncture points, meridians & associated tissues. Moxibustion therapy creates an obvious heating exothermic response and as a result increases micro-circulation to the local area. Systemically, it is known to increase white blood cell count and thus strengthens the immune system and its response. As such it is a form of therapy that has been used in Japan for the last millennia both by the medical practitioners of the time and by folkloric practitioners and lay people respectively for both health maintenance and disease prevention.
In modern times moxibustion is used in many forms and preparations which include both indirect and direct forms. Basically, indirect moxibustion preparations include those forms that do not contact the skin directly. These include the common ‘cigar’ moxibustion preparation that is used to heat acupuncture points by holding the lit end of the ‘cigar’ over the acupuncture points you wish to warm and engage. Kyotoshin or ‘warm needle moxa’ where a ball of mugwort is placed on the top of an inserted acupuncture needle and lit, resulting in a warm and expansive yet gentle heat sensation manifesting. Kamaya Mini style preparations which utilise a heat shield of sorts or a cylindrical platform on which to hold the burning moxibustion herb over the fixed point whilst maintaining space between the lit mugwort and the skin. Or, the various array of ‘moxa boxes’ and other mediums i.e. salt, ginger etc. that are used to act us a intermediate platform that not only allows for an ideal temperature to pass through without the risk of burning the individual, but also assist in transferring further ‘warming’ qualities to the acupuncture point and associated tissues.
Direct forms of moxibustion, as the name suggests include a variety of preparations that ‘burn’ directly on the skin. These forms include yet not are not limited to, heat perceptive styles such as ‘moxa cones’ or chinetskyu and other direct forms such as okyu also known as ‘rice grain’ moxa. These preparations are placed directly on the skin which has been dabbed with a burn prevention cream known as shiunko/purple cloud & then lit with an incense.
Your acupuncturist may use a sole form or variety of moxibustion applications depending on the effect they wish to induce. On the whole however, moxibustion is known to assist in alleviating tight muscle fibers and indurations as well as boost the immune system and overall health & vitality of the individual receiving treatment.