How to Do Moxibustion Therapy at Home?
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Why Moxibustion Therapy is Becoming More Popular?
You might be aware that traditional Chinese medicinal practices are gaining popularity from around the world these days. Moxibustion Therapy is one such practice that originated in China.
Right from very long, Chinese acupuncturists have been using this therapy in association with Acupuncture therapy. Even, it can be used as a standalone treatment for some conditions. Similar to different styles of acupuncture therapy, Moxibustion Therapy is also offered in different styles and types.
What is Moxibustion?
The traditional medical method involves the use of a Chinese herb, where the herb is burnt. This herb is referred to as Mugwort and it is available in varied forms like charcoal, loose and rolled. The stick from the mugwort plant is referred to as moxa.
Two types of practices are followed by an acupuncturist using Moxibustion Therapy for treating patients. They are:
- Direct Moxibustion involves directly placing the moxa stick on the skin on an acupuncture point.
- Indirect Moxibustion is a therapy, where the therapist will hold a burning moxa stick at around 1-2 cms distance above the skin.
When the leaves of the mugwort plant are burnt, it will produce a pungent smell, which many people dislike. The poor thing is that this smell will continue to stay for long in the skin even after the therapy is completed. For those, who dislike it, they can prefer using charcoal moxa, which is otherwise referred to as smokeless moxa.
What Conditions Can Moxibustion Therapy Treat Effectively?
Traditional Chinese practitioners classify the mugwort herb into q-moving and toning herb. The Qi-moving property of this herb will help with increasing blood circulation, while the latter will help with strengthening the energy. Traditionally, this therapy is known to address the following conditions:
- Mechanical or sports-related injuries like ankle sprains and ligament tears.
- Digestive health issues like IBS.
- Scars after a surgery.
- Pregnancy-related issues like a breech presentation or threatened miscarriage.
- Gynecological conditions like menstrual issues
Is Moxibustion Therapy Safe to Use?
When done under constant supervision, Moxibustion therapy is safe for the conditions listed above. The most commonly reported adverse effects of this therapy are the scars or burns it creates. This happens particularly when direct therapy is followed.
However, this therapy should not be applied with the presence of certain conditions like skin sensitivity, diabetes, neurological issues, particularly when thermal nerve sensitivity is affected, elderly patients, those with excess heat issues and individuals with respiratory or breathing issues.
Should You Try Moxibustion Therapy?
In general, acupuncturists decide about using Moxibustion therapy along with acupuncture based on the severity and the presentation of the health condition for which acupuncture is given.
For instance, indirect moxa is known to be effective for knee injuries, ankle sprains, surgical scars and threatened miscarriage and in these cases, indirect moxa to the local injury site along with acupuncture needles will help.
Your therapist will decide based on the severity of the condition and also will decide whether or not to go for direct moxa after considering different factors.
How to Effectively Do Moxibustion Therapy at Home?
One of the excellent benefits of Moxibustion therapy is that you can do it at home itself. However, before you start it at home, it is better to consult with a registered acupuncturist. The therapist will suggest whether this therapy will suit you or not.
Now, you know that Moxibustion therapy is a form of Chinese Medicine. So, the qualified person you should consult before taking up this therapy is a registered Chinese Medicine Practitioner. A qualified practitioner is one, who has got a Bachelor’s Degree in Chinese Medicine.
Also, the practitioner should be affiliated with an association like the Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association or the Australian Traditional Medicine Society. This holds only for Australians.
You should look for the appropriate body in your home nation. When you do an initial consultation, you have every right to ask for the registration details, qualifications, and experience of the practitioner.
How to Do Moxibustion Therapy Professionally?
Before you actually try the Moxibustion therapy on your own in the home, it is better to get it done from a professional initially. When you take the case of the United States, the practitioners generally hold a burning moxa stick close to your skin, but they will ensure that the stick does not touch the surface of your skin.
In this method, they will use the moxa material that is compressed into a pole or a stick. It will produce a unique type of penetrating heat.
Then, they will hold the smoldering stick over a particular area based on the acupuncture point to be treated. They will hold the stick against the area until it reddens and turns flooded with warmth.
Do’s and Don’ts When Moxibustion Therapy at Home
You will need the moxa stick. Here, it would be better to choose a charcoal-based stick. The reason is that it will not produce a pungent smell that the other forms of the herb produce. You will also need a candle, a matchbox with match sticks or a lighter. Further, you will need a moxa holder and a small ceramic heat-proof bowl.
In the process of Moxibustion therapy, you will have to do the following things:
- Carefully light the candle with the help of a matchstick or a lighter.
- Take the moxa stick and ensure that there is nothing in the tip that can disturb its proper burning.
- Just hold the head of the moxa stick in the flame for about a minute.
- Now, you should check whether the stick is properly lit. To check, just hover the head of the stick about a couple of centimeters away from the back of your hand. Now, if it is properly lit, you will experience pleasant warmth coming out of the stick. Just in case, you do not feel the warmth, it means that it is not properly lit. Follow the steps above to burn the stick again. Extinguish the candle once you are sure that the stick is properly lit.
- Now, take the head of the hot moxa stick close to the acupuncture point as prescribed by your acupuncturist. When doing this, you should make sure that there is a distance of about 2-3 centimeters. It means that you should feel the warmth, but it should not too hot to manage.
- After some time, get rid of the residual ash that gathers over the moxa stick. You can do this by carefully brushing the ashes on the rim of the moxa holder.
- Continue to show the stick to the acupuncture point until the area feels hot to a tolerable extent. This process might take around 5 minutes for you to get the hot sensation. In this process, remember to get rid of the accumulated ash from the stick every 30 seconds once.
- Once the therapy is over for the day, extinguish the stick by placing it on the moxa holder.
When you should know what to do when you take Moxibustion therapy at home, you should know what should not be done to prevent any burns. Here are certain things not to do:
- When dealing with open flames and hot equipment do not be careless. Mild carelessness can also cause risky accidents.
- Do not try to touch the burning or hot end of the moxa stick.
- Even after a few minutes after the therapy, do not touch the end of the moxa stick even though you feel that it is cool now.
- Do not use a cracked charcoal moxa stick. The reason is that such a stick can break apart and the broken part can burn your skin accidentally. So, once the stick breaks, throw it away and use a fresh one.
- Nearly four hours after the Moxibustion therapy discard the moxa holder. But, do not discard the contents straight away. The reason is that it can lead to a fire if the burn is still present.
- When you are removing the residual ash from the moxa stick, do not do it carelessly. It can lead to burns. So, take the utmost care in discarding it.
- Do not use water to extinguish the smoke in the moxa stick after the therapy. Place it carefully and let it cool down for at least four hours on its own after extinguishing the burn by brushing up the stick on the moxa holder.
Most practitioners do not hesitate to teach how to do this therapy. Even, you will find course providers teaching this therapy. You can learn from them or even you can learn from trustworthy videos online before you try the Moxibustion therapy at home. It is, of course, a beneficial therapy.
But, you should make sure that the right techniques with the right tools are followed to ensure that you get the utmost benefits for which you plan to take this therapy.