If you ever come into our office and ask, "what is that smell??", no, we promise no one is smoking in the office. We occasionally use moxibustion, or moxa, in addition to our needle acupuncture treatments. Moxa is the chinese herb mugwort. The literature records on moxa can be traced back to the Warring States Period (475 B.C. to 221 B.C.), so it has stood the test of time. Many properties of moxa make it theraputic; it burns at a very specific heat and even the odor can be healing.
When and why would you use moxa? Great question! In the office, we either burn it adjacent to the skin or directly atop an acupuncture needle. The odor is very distinctive! I use moxa most often when using acupuncture to facilitate labor induction in my pregnant patients. Moxa is applied to specific acupuncture points to stimulate the body in a variety of ways, from increasing oxytocin release to cervical softening. As crazy as it sounds, it works, so I always recommend patients consult their midwife or OB first, to make sure everyone is on board with the baby being ready to go. Another situation where I use moxibustion is for patients with deep yin deficiencies, that are often seen in cases of asthma. It seems contraindicated to use something smokey around someone with a respiratory condition, but moxa stimulates deep healing from the inside out, and actually helps strengthen the lungs. Finally, I use moxa when a patient comes into the office with signs and symptoms of disc issues. Moxibustion is great at helping to decrease inflammation and increase localized blood flow and lymphatic circulation, both of which promote healing.
Questions about moxa and whether or not it will help you? Give us a call!