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What is Moxa?

Moxa, short for "moxibustion," is a traditional Chinese medicine therapy that involves the burning of an herb at specific acupuncture points on the body's surface. This ancient practice is designed to stimulate circulation, boost the body's vital energy (Qi), and promote healing and balance.

The herb of choice for this therapy is usually the wool from the bottom of the mugwort plant (Artemisia vulgaris). The other plant material is processed out and the wool is dried and aged in the sun for a period of time. The highest quality moxa material is pure (no remaining leaf material) and aged for years.


There are two primary methods of moxibustion: direct and indirect.

Direct moxibustion

A small cone or stick of moxa material is placed directly on the skin or acupuncture point and ignited. Burn cream is often placed on the skin beforehand to protect it from burns.

Indirect moxibustion

The moxa material is burned close to the skin, usually separated by a barrier like ginger or salt, to generate heat without direct contact.

What are the benefits?

Moxa was originally used to ward away ghosts and demons, but over a significant amount of time (thousands of years), practitioners began to document real health benefits.

Pain Relief

Moxibustion is often used to alleviate pain associated with conditions like arthritis, muscle tension, and menstrual cramps.

Improved Circulation

Moxa's heat therapy can enhance blood circulation, promoting the body's natural healing processes.

Enhanced Immunity

Moxibustion is believed to strengthen the immune system and increase resistance to illness.

Digestive Health

Moxibustion can be applied to specific points on the abdomen to support digestive function and relieve conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).


Certain types of infertility and frequent miscarriage respond very well to moxibustion technique.

How does it work?

There are three properties of moxibustion that stimulate the body and may contribute to its benefits. The first is heat, which penetrates the skin and promotes circulation.

The second is a slew of chemical constituents contained in the moxa material that penetrate the skin when burned. Some of these chemical constituents have been identified and studied, some have not.

The third property of moxibustion is its aroma, which is inhaled through the nose during therapy.

We don't yet know how these properties contribute to moxa's benefit. All we know is that it has been used for thousands of years with positive results and minimal side effects.


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