What is Moxibustion?

Moxibustion is a traditional Chinese medicine technique that involves the burning of mugwort, a small, spongy herb, to promote healing with acupuncture. The purpose of moxibustion, as with most forms of traditional Chinese medicine, is to strengthen the blood, stimulate the flow of qi, and maintain general health.

Moxibustion is used on people who have a cold or stagnant condition. The practice expels cold and warms the meridians, which leads to smoother flow of blood and qi. In Western medicine, moxibustion has been used to turn breech babies into a normal head-down position prior to childbirth.

How Does Moxibustion in Acupuncture Work?

There are two types of moxibustion: direct and indirect. In direct moxibustion, a small, cone-shaped amount of moxa is placed on top of an acupuncture point and burned. Broken down further, direct moxibustion can be scarring or non-scarring. In scarring moxibustion the moxa burns on the acupuncture point until it does out completely. In non-scarring moxibustion, the moxa is placed on the point and lit, but is extinguished or removed before it burns the skin. Patients feel a pleasant heating sensation that penetrates deep into the skin, but should not experience any pain, blistering or scarring unless the moxa is left in place for too long.

The more popular form of moxibustion is the indirect type because it comes with a lower risk for pain or burning. In indirect moxibustion, an acupuncture practitioner lights one end of a moxa stick and holds it close to the treatment area for a few minutes until the area turns red. Another form of indirect moxibustion uses both acupuncture needles and moxa. A needle is inserted into an acupoint and retained. The tip of the needle is then wrapped in moxa and ignited, which creates heat in the point and the surrounding area. Once the person experiences relief, the moxa is extinguished and the needle is taken out.

Moxibustion and Acupuncture Therapy at AIAM

The use of moxibustion is typically taught as part of a qualified acupuncture or traditional Chinese medicine degree program. Although there are no licensing or accreditation requirements associated with the practice of moxibustion, in the United States, a practitioner must have an acupuncture license to be permitted to perform moxibustion.

If you’re interested in learning more about moxibustion, you should check out the American Institute of Alternative Medication (AIAM). AIAM’s Acupuncture Therapy Clinic focuses on traditional Chinese medicine with the goal of promoting balance, health and vitality.

AIAM’s acupuncture programs have been running for 20 years – making the program one of the longest-running in the Midwest. Through the program you will also learn key business skills and professionalism, which sets you up for a rewarding, long-lasting career as a licensed therapist.

Learn more about AIAM’s Acupuncture program requirements or apply to jumpstart your career as a licensed therapist.