is the process whereby a dried herb called moxa-usually the species
mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) - is burnt, either directly on the
skin or indirectly above the skin over specific acupuncture points.
The purpose of this process is to warm the Qi and blood in the
channels. Moxibustion is most commonly used when there is the
requirement to expel cold and damp or to tonify the Qi and blood.
moxibustion puts heat into the body, it is clearly not indicated
in conditions of internal heat, and although it may be useful
with exterior excess conditions in the channels, generally it
is not used for interior excess conditions.
lit, moxa burns slowly and provides a penetrating heat that can
enter readily into the channels and influence the Qi and blood
flow. Moxa burns with a characteristic smell and can give off
a fairly copious smoke. Some patients may find the smell and the
smoke difficult to tolerate and the odour will be retained in
clothing and hair long after a treatment session. Smokeless moxa
is available, but this can be very difficult to light and is not
is available in a loose form that can be used for making moxa
cones. Alternatively, moxa is packed and rolled in a long stick
like a large cigar, about 15-20 cm long and about 1-2 cm in diameter.