Have you ever walked into our clinic and been hit by a peculiar and unidentifiable herbal smell that made you think we smoke funny stuff in here?
The truth is we kind of do ‘smoke’ funny stuff in here…It’s called moxa, and we’re particularly fond of it during the cooler months of Autumn and Winter.
Moxibustion, or just moxa, refers to a traditional Chinese medicine technique involving the application of heat to facilitate treatment of various complaints. The heat (and smell) comes from the burning of this herb called mugwort (Artemisia argyi) in one shape or form. There are many weird and wonderful traditional ways of using moxa. We mostly use a ‘smokeless’ moxa stick. The stick looks like a big cigar and emits a lovely radiant heat when lit.
Heat in general feels great when you’re cold or have pain. It helps ease the pain by moving your blood. Most of you will already have tried or be familiar with heat lamps, hot water bottles or heat packs to soothe your aches and warm you up. With moxa we can use heat to treat in a very focused and specific way.
The heat is applied by holding a moxa stick close to the skin over (acu-)points or areas on the body for a few minutes. This serves to remove any coldness or stagnation, promote and regulate circulation, strengthen and warm the organs, lift your energy and help restore health in general.
Moxa heating is usually an adjunct to acupuncture treatments and can be particularly good in the treatments of:
- Digestive issues such as indigestion, diarrhea and colitis
- Menstrual problems like cramping, pain and clots
- Abnormal bleeding from the uterus or bowels
- Organ prolapse
- Arthritis (especially the kind that feels worse in cold weather)
One of the most extraordinary uses of Moxa is in late stage of pregnancy when the technique can be applied to the little toe of a pregnant woman to help turn a breech positioned baby!!!
If you’d like us to ‘light your inner fire’, want to know if moxa would be good for your condition or just want to find out more about all the treatments we offer give us a call on 9530 6566.
Christina Tolstrup, July 2015
Practitioner at Gardenvale Traditional Chinese Medicine