You might notice an herbal scent lingering in the building as you make your way into our office suite. “What is that smell?,” is a common statement from first-time visitors.
Moxibustion (also referred to as “moxa”) is a form of heat therapy that is used in Chinese medicine to invigorate the flow of “qi” (energy), blood, lymph and other body fluids while dispelling certain pathogenic influences. The substance is an herb called mugwort or Artemisia vulgaris, which we burn and hover close to the skin over specific acupuncture points. This herb is so integral in Chinese medicine treatments, that the ancient Chinese character for acupuncture (“zhenjiu,” which is pronounced “juhn-jee-yew” ) is translated literally as “acupuncture/moxibustion.”
Moxibustion is a very warm and relaxing addition to an acupuncture treatment, and is often used instead of acupuncture for those who are especially sensitive to needles. In fact, there are some properties to moxibustion that exceed the capabilities of the acupuncture needles. Depending on the condition being treated, we might use more moxibustion than acupuncture or vice versa. Moxibustion is so good at boosting energy and improving immunity, that we sometimes teach patients how to moxa themselves and send them home with the tools and instructions for doing so. Check out our FAQ page for a list of treatable conditions using moxibustion along with other modalities available in Chinese medicine.