Have you ever been in an acupuncture clinic and caught a whiff of smoke? Don’t worry. The clinic isn’t on fire, and no one’s smoking a doobie. The smell of smoke comes from a burning moxa stick, which is made from tightly rolled layers of the Chinese herb mugwort. Moxa sticks are intended to promote healing by warming meridian points to stimulate the circulation of blood and qi. Moxa sticks can help treat arthritis, tendinitis, sprains, digestion, and respiratory issues. It helps strengthen the body’s immune system and can help alleviate fatigue.
Acupuncturist Toni Balfour explains that:
…Moxibustion [is] a therapy which involves the burning of specific herbs at acupuncture points . . . The ‘moxa stick’ is the most common form in which moxibustion is used to promote healing. The moxa stick can be held in one place, rotated in circles, or ‘pecked’ in a motion similar to a sparrow pecking at food over the area of an acupuncture point . . . This simultaneous use of moxibustion along with the acupuncture needle intensifies the therapeutic benefit of the given acupuncture point.
Mugwort is known around the world as a healing and protective herb. Mugwort comes from the Artemisia genus of plants. The name is derived from the Greek diety Artemis, goddess of the hunt. Artemis brings the sun every morning, and she is the healer of women. It should come as no surprise, then, that the moxa stick (which is made from mugwort) can also be used to ease menstrual cramps, as well as to help turn breech babies.
If you haven’t already used a moxa stick, talk to Michele at your next appointment to see if moxibustion can enhance your acupuncture treatment. Moxa sticks can be used at home, but you will need an acupuncture therapist to show you the proper procedure. Give us a call to set an appointment, or schedule you on appointment online.