Moxibustion is the burning of Chinese medicinal herbs (usually mugwort) or herbal blends over acupuncture points, acupuncture needles, or regions of the body to facilitate healing. The use of moxa enhances the overall effect of the acupuncture treatment, and in some cases, is used alone.
Moxa has been a part of Chinese Medicine for over 2,000 years, and is traditionally used to "tonify" Qi, tonify Yang, move Qi and Blood to alleviate pain, and to warm the meridians. An ancient use of moxa that is becoming commonly used in modern applications is in the case of breech presentation during pregnancy. Studies have found that the burning of moxa over an acupuncture point on the small toe can increase the likelihood of the baby turning into the proper position. This treatment is most effective if used during the 34th week of pregnancy. In the case of breech presentation, treatment is discontinued once the baby moves into the proper position, as determined by an Obstetrician or Midwife.
Traditionally, the leaf of Mugwort (Artemesia Vulgaris) is dried and processed and then used either in raw fiber form or in prepared stick form. The Moxa stick is held about 2-4 inches away from the body until the patient feels a warm sensation. Moxa fiber is placed directly on the acupuncture point, or placed on slices of ginger, small mounds of salt, or on the end of the needle and ignited.