What is Moxibustion?

Moxa is a form of heat therapy used by practitioners of Chinese Medicine. It uses, a common herb known in English as mugwort, that is specially prepared and heated to transfer warmth into the body at specific points determined by the patient’s symptoms. It is a way of stimulating Qi flow and putting energy into the system. 

    Types of Moxibustion

    There are two types of moxibustion, direct and indirect:


    1. Direct Moxibustion includes a small amount of moxa being placed on the top of an acupuncture point and burned. This allows the moxa to be burned until it gets near the skin and then it is extinguished. This leaves no chance of scarring.
    1. Indirect Moxibustion includes the practitioner lights a moxa stick and hovers it over the area that needs to be treated until the area turns red. Indirect Moxibustion is the most popular form of moxibustion because there is a much lower chance of pain or burning.

    Why use Moxibustion?

    When you need special body treatment, Moxibustion is for you. The mental and physical benefits of moxibustion are limitless but here are a few common benefits:

    Not all maladies can be treated using moxibustion, but it is particularly good for:


    • Certain kinds of joint pain
    • Low energy states and fatigue
    • Menstrual disorders
    • Some chronic gastrointestinal disorders
    • Some kinds of low back pain

    History of Moxibustion

    Moxibustion has been around as early as 400 BCE. The ancient belief behind moxibustion is that in order for the body to be healed, the body needed to be heated in specific places. A early pioneer of acupuncture named Waichi Sugiyama was blind and utilized palpation to better determine locations for therapy. Waichi Sugiyama is also the same person who is commonly known as the father of Japanese acupuncture.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    We get a lot of questions about moxibustion, so we thought we’d answer a few here. If you have any questions that haven’t been answered here, please give us a call. We would love to help you. 

    Does moxa treatment burn the skin or make me feel hot?

    There are several ways that moxibustion heat is delivered to the acupuncture points on the surface of the skin, all protect against direct injury.

    I heard that the burning mugwort creates a lot of smoke. Is that true?

    Many modern Oriental Medicine practitioners use a form of compressed moxa that does not generate visible smoke making it safer and less irritating to the airways.

    Is there an extra charge for Moxa treatment when I receive my usual acupuncture?

    No, Moxibustion treatment is an adjunct to the acupuncture prescription and is applied when indicated.

    How does my acupuncturist know when to use Moxa on me?

    Moxa is typically used when the energy (Qi) in a channel is low and needs boosting. This need can vary from session to session.

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