Moxa and Moxibustion: Question and Answers

Lierre carries both new and traditional forms of moxa and moxa accessories. You'll find aged golden moxa, tiger warmers, and a series of different types of moxa sticks, both scented and unscented, smokeless and with smoke. Our accessories include tiger warmers, lion warmers, moxa plates, moxa extinguishers, moxa needle holders, moxa spoons, moxa lighters and cleaning brushes.

 

 

 

Q: What is moxibustion?

A: Moxibustion is a form of traditional Chinese medicine that is commonly practiced and mentioned alongside acupuncture; these two forms of treatment can be complementary, and tend to be tied to the same principles. In Chinese, it is called灸 (jiu). The same traditional theory of meridians and points operating in acupuncture applies to moxibustion, in which stimulating precise areas of the body can solve and prevent different health problems and conditions.

Instead of relying on needles, however, moxibustion involved burning or applying mugwort in its different forms to affect Qi and blood. The heat produced by burning moxa sticks and moxa corns warms acupuncture points and meridians, and driving away dampness and cold inside body.

 

Q: What is a moxa stick?

A: Moxa sticks are the most commonly used instrument in moxibustion: they consist of rolled, prepared mugwort, and are meant to burn evenly and slowly. Moxa sticks can be with smoke, or smokeless: smokeless moxa sticks are made from carbonized mugwort, while moxa sticks that produce smoke contain dried mugwort.

The absence of smoke when burning smokeless moxa sticks makes them suitable for practitioners and clients who are sensitive to moxa smoke, or for use in enclosed spaces. In Asia, moxa smoke is considered to be an essential therapeutic element of moxibustion, thought to contain many beneficial trace elements. The smoke also has a calming effect, and its aroma can be quite pleasant.

 

Q: Who can use the moxibustion? Who are not suitable for moxibustion?

A: Since Moxibustion shares a theoretical base with acupuncture, most patients who could use acupuncture could also benefit from moxibustion.

Moxibustion, however, does have some different applications from acupuncture: as it involves heat, it can only be used to treat conditions that are not tied to an overabundance of heat, and it cannot be used on some of the body’s more sensitive areas. Therefore, practitioners giving moxibustion treatments should avoid the heart, neck, genital and joint areas, as well as areas with hair and scars, and pregnant women’s abdomen and waist.

Patients who are too weak, drunk or who overeat are also not suitable for moxibustion treatments. Additionally, because moxibustion nourishes patients’ Qi, it cannot used for people who have fevers.

 

Q: Which health problems and conditions can moxibustion treat, and how?

A: :Moxibustion can be used for many different problems, and involves a series of different techniques targeted to various ailments.

Here are four of the most common moxibustion methods:

  • Hanging moxibustion: Hang the burning moxa over the body.
  • Indirect moxibustion: Apply ginger, garlic, salt or other herbs on the skin, and put moxa over these herbs.
  • Direct moxibustion: Put moxa directly on the body.
  • Portable moxibustion: Use different kinds of moxa accessories to stick moxa on the body. The accessories suitable for this technique include moxibustion boxes, moxibustion cups, specialized needles and lion warms.
 

Q: Does moxibustion have side effects?

A: In general, moxibustion is easy to use at home and will not cause side effects at most of the time. The mainly side effects are coming from the wrong diagnoses. And after the wrong diagnoses, people may use wrong acupuncture points for moxibustion. But it can be adjusted if you went to a professional practitioner to ask for instruction.

We recommend you go to Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners to ask for recommendations before you starting your own moxibustion journey.

 

Q: When will I experience results? What kinds of benefits will I observe?

A: There is no simple, one-size-fits all answer to this question: different people will observe results at varying intervals, depending on their particular constitution and on which ailments were treated. Generally, however, moxibustion takes its effects gradually, and it is not a technique that will immediately show its full range of effects.

Moxibustion’s benefits include, but are not limited to tension relief, an increased metabolism, enhanced Qi, increased blood circulation, detoxification, and more.

If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of moxa, you can consult the Lierre Blog:

https://www.lierremedical.com/blog/category/moxibustionmoxa/

 

Q: What are the differences between different moxa products?

A: Moxa products can be divided into three different kinds according to their forms: loose moxa, stick moxa, and liquid moxa. Stick moxa can further be subcategorized into smoke and smokeless moxa, scented and unscented moxa, and any combination of these qualities.

Liquid moxa is made from mugwort extract and mixed with several other herbs, which together create an effect similar to smokeless moxa. Also called moxa essence, it is a practical and discreet form of moxibustion, as it can be practiced just about anywhere.

 

Q: How to choose the suitable moxibustion products and accessories?

A: Though choosing from so many options can become overwhelming, the main criteria for choosing moxibustion products should be the type of treatment you plan on practicing. Many factors can then play into which type of treatment will be more useful for you: for example, if you work in an enclosed space, you may prefer smokeless moxa; if you tend to prefer to stick to traditional approaches, you may opt for moxa with smoke. Acupuncturists can consider using moxa needle caps on their needles, and would then be better suited for loose moxa, which can be placed on their instruments. Practitioners working with TDP lamps can benefit from choosing moxa essence, since it works best when heated by one; people who do not have those lamps but want to achieve a similar effect may prefer smokeless moxa.

If you have the opportunity to try a moxibustion product other than moxa essence, you can tell its quality by watching the way it burns: good moxa should burn slowly, evenly, without sparks, and its ashes should not be abundant, and should be very light in colour – whiteish grey, but with a hint of green – and smooth. Good loose moxa should be golden in colour, with a soft, cottony texture, a mild smell and with very mild fire.

If you are interested in learning more about how to recognize and choose between different types of moxa, you can consult our blog articles on moxibustion!

https://www.lierremedical.com/blog/

 

Q: How long can I store moxa products?

A: Generally, moxa sticks, loose moxa and smokeless moxa do not have an expiry date, and can be stored for several years. One important thing to consider, however, is that moxa with smoke must be stored in a dry place. If moxa products soak up humidity, they will not burn evenly, and they will produce large amounts of unpleasant, bad smoke: in short, they’ll no longer be suitable for regular use in treatments. Mugwort oil evaporates slowly, and relatively dry moxa will burn more evenly, and have enhanced therapeutic effects; however, past eight years, any additional evaporation no longer improves the quality of the mugwort, but may begin to make it too dry to use.

 

Q: Why is it important that moxa ages? What’s the difference between three year, five year and eight year moxa?

A: After several steps of processing, mugwort leaves become loose mugwort, but they must be dried in order to become usable. Loose mugwort must be stored for several years for excess mugwort oil to evaporate, allowing the moxa to burn evenly and slowly enough for treatments. With each additional year of storage, moxa then increases in quality and therapeutic potential; after more than eight years, however, the moxa starts to become too dry. With this major caveat, however, it’s a good rule of thumb that the older the moxa, the better and more expensive it is: storing moxa is a more difficult and expensive process than you might think, as it must be sheltered from all types of weather conditions, and kept isolated from insects and humidity.

Eight year old moxa is therefore at the peak of its quality, and will never produce sparks or burn too quickly; it is also more expensive, and it cannot be stored for long periods of time without losing its beneficial properties. While not quite as good, five and three year moxa are comparable, and will still burn extremely smoothly: we usually recommend three year aged moxa to most practitioners, as it offers a great quality/price ratio.

 

Q: What does the ratio of moxa mean?

A: If you’ve looked at enough descriptions of moxa, you may have noticed that they sometimes mention rations such as 15:1 or 20:1. Pound per pound, kilogram for kilogram, these ratios describe the amount of mugwort used to make one unit of moxa. For example, 15:1 means that in order to produce 1 kg of moxa, 15 kg of mugwort leaves were used. The higher the ratio, the more mugwort was used, and the better the moxa. Lierre’s moxibustion products have different ratios: 35:1, 20:1 and 15:1, making them very high quality while still remaining affordable.

 

Q: What moxa accessories will I need?

A: Once again, the accessories you’ll need will depend on the type of moxibustion products you’re using. For example, if you’re using liquid moxa or moxa essence, a TDP lamp can be incredibly beneficial; if you’re using stick moxa, a specialized moxa torch will help you achieve the right burning temperature quickly, and a moxa extinguisher is also essential. Treatments in conjunction with acupuncture necessitate needle caps.