Moxibustion is a traditional Chinese medicine technique that involves the burning of mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris, also known as moxa), a small, spongy herb, to facilitate healing. In fact, the Chinese character for acupuncture is translated as acupuncture-moxibustion. Moxibustion is used to warm acupuncture points in order to move stagnated blood and improve circulation through deep heating. Moxa is attributed with unique healing properties.
Moxibustion is used when patients require warmth and tonification to facilitate balance. It is also used in areas of local stagnation – such as a sprained ankle – to increase the flow of blood to the area, encouraging the healing process. Small moxa cones are placed on the tip of specific acupuncture needles and ignited. Burning moxa gives off an earthy smell. For patients sensitive to the smoke, other heating treatments are available. While some patients find the warmth of the moxa quieting, others are invigorated. In general, most people find treatment with moxa helpful to their conditions.