What is Moxa and Why Do We Burn It On Acupoints?

A Special Therapy

What is Moxa and Why Do We Burn It On Acupoints?

Most of my patients often wonder why I use a lot of moxa for moxibustion in my practice and they want to know the purpose of this kind of therapy and what it is all about.  To begin with, moxa is the leaf of Artemisia Argyi and it is produced in all parts of China.  The classic texts of Chinese medicine have used moxa in various diseases.  The way I use it particularly is to burn it directly on specific acupuncture points (acupoints) prior to inserting a needle. Not only do my patients often like the smell of it, but they feel relaxed when I use it.  Here are some of the specific functions for using moxibustion that you might want to know:


Pain is considered a cold obstruction in the meridian(s), or blood stagnation or another type of blockage of the meridian(s).  When someone is experiencing arthritis, dysmenorrhea, amenorrhea, stomachache/epigastric pain or herniation, moxibustion can be extremely helpful in alleviating pain.  Using fresh giner cut into slices with several needle holes punched into the slices and then placed on top of acupoints or on selected areas of the body where there is pain can be used to stop vomiting, abdominal pain or joint and bone pain.

 It Strengthens Your Qi!

Moxa has been widely applied to many serious diseases due to insufficiency, or depletion of yang qi as we call it in Chinese medicine.  Among some of these diseases are prolapse, leucorrhea, chronic diarrhea, enuresis, menorrhagia and chronic diseases that affect your energy. Using salt with moxa and burning the moxa particularly on the the umbilicus when the umbilicus is filled with salt is used for treating diarrhea, vomiting, extreme energy loss and nervous system disorders.  It also calms the mind as well.

It Removes Pathological Accumulation

Moxibustion with its heat has the effect of dispelling blood stasis and pathological (diseaase) accumulation.  In a clinical setting that means it treats diseases related to stagnated qi and blood.  Diseases such as mastitis, scrofula, goiters, tumors or any other poor blood or lymph distribution can be helped with the use of moxibustion.   Using tightly rolled moxa sticks that are burned above the skin without touching and moving in either a circular, direct or up and down movement have the effect of stimulating the flow of blood and lymph.  Thus dispersing pain, coldness, or disease accumulation.  In pregnancy for example, using it on the lateral side of the nail of the small pinky toe (Bladder 67) has shown the effect of turning a breached baby during labor.


Prevents Disease and Maintains Health!

In the classic texts, a point that relates with immune function and promoting a long and healthy life is Stomach 36 (Leg Three Mile).  Using moxa on this point is known as "healthy moxibustion" and can invigorate healthy qi and strengthen the immunity to keep one full of vitality and increase longevity.