“What is moxa” is one of the first questions people ask when starting acupuncture therapy. There can be some misconceptions about moxa and it’s use because it’s completely foreign in western medicine. First the terms “moxa” and “moxibustion” are used interchangeably to describe a substance burned during an acupuncture session or standalone moxa treatment. So, what is moxa? It’s a dried herbal floss processed from the Chinese herb Mugwort. There are many different forms, grades and ways to use moxa, however I will list the most common. Also, moxa in studies have shown it effective in modulating the immune system with positive effects on health.
Carbonized Needle-head Moxa
This moxa is a carbonized, smokeless form that looks like a piece of charcoal. It smells mild an is ideal for all types of circulation issues, reducing pain and treating chronic conditions. Needle-head moxa gets placed at the tip of the needle at specific points on the body during an acupuncture treatment.
Rice Grain Moxa
This form of moxa is a high-grade, more expensive moxa that is light tan in color. A small pebble-size of the material is rolled between two wooden boards. It is then applied in small rice grain pinches to specific sites on the body and burned down with incense and put out with a bamboo shaft. It can be used with acupuncture treatment or as standalone therapy. It is ideal for postpartum depression, anemia, blood sugar irregularities, low-back pain during pregnancy, edema during pregnancy and much more.
Heat Perception Moxa
This moxa is a medium-grade mugwort floss that gets applied directly to the skin. Small dime-size cones get rolled and placed on specific points on the body. These points are then lit and burned and pulled off the body before they burn out entirely. Heat perception moxa is excellent for more shallow blood stasis, postpartum mastitis, postpartum hand numbness, abdominal pain, breech pregnancy and more.
Acupuncture Today also answers some common questions about what moxa treatment entails.