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Moxibustion Calgary Acupuncture Moxa

Moxibustion and the healing powers of moxa

Moxibustion, known as “moxa” for short, is an ancient heat therapy that has been used throughout Asia for thousands of years. This therapy is a natural complement to an acupuncture treatment and involves burning the herb mugwort over specific acupuncture points. It is one of the tools I use in my practice to relieve so many health conditions including low back pain and neck/shoulder pain. This pain relieving heat therapy stimulates the flow of qi and blood circulation in the body and helps maintain general health especially important here in Calgary where winters can be cold and very hard on the body.

Mugwort is the key to moxibustion.

The herb material used for moxibustion is mugwort – Artemisia vulgaris, Ai Ye. Mugwort is a flowering plant in the daisy family. It’s used in foods eaten around the world, including German Christmas goose, Korean clam soup and a green Japanese dessert known as kusa mochi.  It gets its botanical name from the Greek moon goddess Artemis, a patron of women, and is a wonderful herb for gynecological conditions. It is used to treat heavy menstrual bleeding and uterine bleeding and to increase blood circulation to the pelvic area to treat menstrual pain. Moxibustion has successfully been used to turn breech babies into a normal head-down position before childbirth.

Mugwort herb has a long history of use in folk medicine. It is believed that the Romans planted mugwort by roadsides to make it available to travelers to put in their shoes to relieve aching feet and protect them from exhaustion. Maybe this is because of its ability to enhance the movement of qi and blood.

Plant’s leaves are dried and ground into small sticks or cones, which are then lighted and used to warm points on your body and relieve a variety of conditions. Any type of heat applied to the body can increase the flow of Qi and blood. Heat lamps, heating pads, or warming liniments can give a similar effect to moxibustion. But the heat combined with the powerful healing properties of mugwort gives moxibustion a proven advantage. Mugwort is used because of its acrid, spicy odor which makes it able to travel through all of the meridians, regulate qi and blood, and expel cold. One of mugwort’s active components, borneol, is commonly used in topical therapies for its analgesic effects. Different from needles, characteristics of moxibustion determine that its efficacy to warming and nourishing.

How is moxibustion done?

Moxibustion can be applied directly or indirectly. I love indirect moxa! It is a safer technique since the burning moxa doesn’t touch your skin. I use in my practice a good quality smokeless moxa stick. For your treatment best acupuncture points according to your needs will be selected for moxibustion. The moxa stick will be hold about an inch from your body. Moxa treatment is pain free, you will only feel heat and warmth. Moxibustion treatment is a pleasantly relaxing and soothing experience.

How does moxibustion work?

On the mechanism of moxibustion effects, there have been many viewpoints, such as thermal stimulation effect, non-specific autologous protein therapeutics, non-specific stress responses, and aromatherapy. The generally accepted view is that the meridian system combines with moxibustion physical and chemical effects to produce comprehensive effects. When physical and chemical factors act on the acupoint receptors, the signal enters the central nervous system through the peripheral pathways and outgoes after being integrated, adjusting the nerve-endocrine-immune network and circulatory system, so as to regulate the internal environment of the body, in order to achieve the effects of preventing and treating diseases. 

What is moxibustion used for?

Moxibustion is perhaps best known for being an alternative way to help with breech presentation. This happens when a baby is positioned feet-first in the birth canal, which makes the birthing process much more difficult. It’s usually done around 34 weeks with indirect moxibustion around an acupuncture point called UB 67, called Zhiyin or reaching Yin. For safety and effectiveness, it’s best to have this done by a professional. Some hospitals, especially in the United Kingdom, even have midwives and obstetricians on staff trained in acupuncture and moxibustion.

Moxibustion is used successfully in a wide variety of ailments such as back pain, joint pain, arthritis, headaches, migraines, insomnia, anxiety, depression, muscle stiffness, tendonitis, adrenal fatigue, infertility, menstrual cramps, gastrointestinal issues, such as diarrhea, colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, and constipation, asthma symptoms, cold and flu prevention.

Where to go for moxibustion?

Moxibustion should only be performed by someone who’s trained and skilled. The importance of moxibustion cannot be separated from the theory of TCM. More than a simple stimulus, meridian and acupoint system of the human body is the key to efficacy of moxibustion. Performing moxibustion with acupuncture increase its effectiveness. Come for an acupuncture treatment and the moxa treatment will be added as an optional add-on to your session at no extra fee. Let your body to enjoy the moxa warm and its calming and nourishing effects.

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