Moxibustion, or moxa, uses the burning of the plant Mugwort (Mogusa in Japanese / Ai Ye in Mandarin) to promote healing. The heat can warm the body, or release excess heat. The ash created by the burning plant has unique anti-inflammatory and detoxifying effects.

Mugwort itself is a medicinal plant with traditions of use around the world. It has cleansing properties and is in the same family as sagebrush (used in smudging), wormwood (used to make absinthe), and artemesia annua (a highly researched medicinal plant that won the Nobel prize for medicine for its use in treating malaria).

Using moxibusiton in conjunction with acupuncture points and channels can reduce pain and inflammation, help heal from injury, treat respiratory illness and immunity, and increase vitality.

Additionally, studies have shown that burning medicinal plants can help remove airborne germs and toxins.

Moxibustion can be applied on it’s own or in conjunction with acupuncture. “Direct moxa” is pressed into cones or rice grain sized threads to burn directly on the skin. Moxa can be placed inside a wooden box or on top of a sliver of ginger or base of salt, and then placed on the body, for an insulated slow burn that provides warming and tonification. “Indirect moxa” is held over the body in stick form, or burned on the end of an acupuncture needle.

Each technique has its own specific benefits and applications, but the immediate effect is deeply relaxing and comforting.

Laurel Irons

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