In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the moxibustion is an integrative part of acupuncture. To be more precise, the Chinese signs used to write “acupuncture” reads “acupuncture and moxibustion”.
Moxibustion consists in the application of indirect heat on the body of the patient via the combustion of the moxa plant. The moxa plant comes into various shapes depending on the intended effect. It can be rolled in cigar-like sticks, shaped into cones or balls, or be reduced to a powder and placed into a wooden box.
With acupuncture, the acupuncturist initiates a mechanism in the body of the patient, but nothing is brought from outside, all that happens is already in the body of the patient. Sometimes, based on the pattern of the patient, the TCM practitioner needs to bring something in or take something out.
In the case of moxa, the application of external heat is used for cases of Cold or Deficiency but also for Bi (blockage) syndromes. This can be used to expel external Cold invasion, or to dispel internal Cold.
What should I feel?
You will feel a gentle heat as the moxa is burning, I will stop applying the heat if it starts causing discomfort.
Is it safe?
Trained therapists know how to handle moxa in its various shapes and avoid burning their patients. If you are uncomfortable with the idea of having something on fire anywhere near you, alternatives exist such as the TDP lamp. Of course, if this alternative does not suit you I will advise you to apply a hot water bottle on the area suffering from Cold.
What is the TDP lamp?
The TDP or Heat lamp is a standing lamp placed over the area of the patient that needs to be warmed. Unlike moxa, the lamp will produce heat via a magnetic plate made of beneficial essential minerals. The TDP lamp is more practical than moxa as it is easier to use and does not emit smoke, which is great for patients suffering from asthma and if the premises are fitted with smoke detectors.