Why Moxibustion is as important as Acupuncture

1. What is the difference between Acupuncture and Moxibustion?

Acupuncture can only assist the flow of Qi through meridians, but not replenish original Qi and yang, whereas moxibustion has effects in both aspects. Though there are reinforcing and reducing methods in Acupuncture, it only works for non-excessive and non-deficient conditions; on the other hand, moxibustion treats conditions regardless of whether it is excessive, deficient, heat or cold.



2. Why moxibustion cures diseases that cannot be cured by Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine?

In “The Inner Canon of Yellow Empire”, it stated, “When Acupuncture and Herbs are not effective, moxa must be used.”  Acupuncture works on meridians by stimulating the Qi. The more original Qi the body has, the more therapeutic effect Acupuncture could deliver.

When the body is deficient of original Qi, the effectiveness of acupuncture will be diminished. Often times, people with weak original Qi also have problems in digestion, which affect the body’s ability to absorb herbal medicine.  With moxibustion, it works without the needs for digestion or stronger original Qi.



3. How does Mugwort help the body?

In “Compendium of Materia Medica”, it describes Mugwort like this “Mugwort leaves are bitter and pungent, warm when raw, hot when burned, and is pure yang in nature…when lit, Ai can travel through the 12 channels to treat all types of disease.” With Mugwort as the material for Moxibustion, it can clear and activate channels and collaterals, resolve underlying cold, reduce swelling and recuperate depleted yang.

Mugwort leaves

4. Why moxibustion could replenish the Yang of the body?

The Qi from the burning of mugwort is pure yang in nature. It is able to restore Yang from collapse, passing through the Twelve Channels, and circulating throughout the three Yin Channels. With the continuous nourishment from moxibustion, the pure yang from moxa is able to penetrate the body surface to reach and connect internal organs and make Yang run throughout the body. When applying moxa to Guan Yuan (CV 4), which is at the intersection of three yin channels along feet and conception vessel, as well as residing in lower warmer containing original yin and yang, the warm Qi from moxa could reach the gate of vitality directly to nourish original yang, which is the motive force for the Yang of the whole body.


5. Where do diseases come from and go to?

Ancient Chinese often talked about “nourishing with warmness, avoiding coldness” In western, and modern times, people always act in the opposite way. Air conditioning, cold drink and food, and not dressing warmly in cold winter along with many other inappropriate lifestyles all bring in external cold pathogens to the body. The coldness not only deplete the Yang of the body, but also damage immune systems, make internal environment dysfunction, and cause all kinds of painfulness and chronic diseases.


6. Should moxibustion be done in certain seasons?

No. Moxibustion can work in any of the four seasons. Typical misconceptions include that winter diseases can be better cared in summer, or spring is more suitable for reoccurring problems, which are all relatively speaking.

The only time that is good for moxibustions is, the early the better. There is no need to wait for certain seasons.



7. Should people with febrile constitution avoid moxibustion?

Moxibustion has a two-way regulation. It adjusts the body’s excessiveness, deficiency, heat and cold through heat transmission.

When applying moxibustion for febrile conditions, the heat dilates the blood vessel and increases the speed of blood flow, which dissipates excessive stagnation of fire to clear the internal heat. On the other hand, moxibustion reinforces the vital Qi of the body to invigorate the defense mechanism. In this way, people with any kinds of the constitution can be helped by moxibustion.


8. What is Moxa Sensation?

The key of moxibustion replying on whether the body receives Qi. Moxa Sensation is what patients feel with the changing of Qi when having moxibustion treatment. People can experience all sorts of unusual feeling if Qi sensation is achieved.

The first category of Moxa Sensation includes heat penetration, heat diffusion, and heat transmission. This indicates the Qi in the meridians is activated and starts to circulate. An example would be moxibustion on Zu San Li (ST 36) causes the heat to transmit from the points down the lower legs.

The second category of Moxa Sensation includes sore, numbness, swelling, pain and itchiness. This indicates the combat between meridian Qi and the pathogen. Examples include itchy feeling for patients with wind pathogen when receiving treatment.

The third category of Moxa Sensation includes windy, cold, and cooling sensation. This indicates that the meridian Qi in the body is enough and ready to dispel the pathogens.  


9. Why moxibustion sometimes may cause the symptoms to be worse after treatment?

Conditions can become worse right after a moxibustion treatment. This is a normal reaction indicating battles between vital Qi and evil Qi. When the body is lack of vital Qi source, it tends to experience more of the discomforts. As vital Qi accumulates from sessions of Moxibustion treatment, the evil Qi will be expelled by the body.