Moxibustion is the process of using moxa to apply heat to the body. Moxa, the herb Artemisia vulgaris or mugwort, is burned on or over the skin. It produces a deeply penetrating warmth.
Moxa deeply warms the body. Its soothing heat feels very good on sore muscles, sluggish digestion, and cramps.
There are several ways to apply moxa. Most common is with a “moxa pole” or “moxa stick”. A large cigar of mugwort is lighted and then held at a comfortable distance from the body until the patient feels a pleasant heat spreading across the area.
Another method is to wrap the metal handle of a needle with moxa, and then light it so it smolders, warming the needle. Moxa can be rolled it into tiny threads and set it on appropriate acupoints. An incense stick is used to light the moxa so it smolders down.
No matter which form of moxibustion is used, precautions are always taken to protect the body and prevent burning the skin.
Moxibustion is used for pain, especially in the back and joints. It may be applied to the the abdomen and legs for digestive problems. It is an invaluable therapy for certain types of menstrual pain. Moxa is used to strengthen different parts of the body. It is good for conditions like arthritis that are worse the cold and damp weather.