Moxibustionphotography by Caelie Frampton

Moxibustion is a Traditional Chinese Medicine technique that involves the burning of a small spongy herb called mugwort.  Moxibustion is the burning of mugwwart, which facilitates healing by strengthening the blood, stimulating the flow of Qi, and maintaining general health.  The roots of this heat therapy can be traced to people’s natural urge  to warm up painful areas in cold climates.  Over time, they found various ways of transferring heat to the body, one of the first being stones heated to a suitable temperature pressed onto skin.  Moxibustion has been used throughout Asia for thousands of years; in fact, the actual Chinese character for acupuncture,  literally means “acupuncture-moxibustion”.

Moxibustion is particularly useful in the following conditions:
 1. Deficient conditions;
 2. Cold and hot conditions;
 3. Chronic conditions;
 4. Immune deficiency;
 5. Low blood pressure;
 6. Chilled conditions;
 7. Skin conditions;
 8. Gynecological conditions, such as irregular menstruation, fertility issue;
 9. Constitutional problems; and
 10. Conditions where needling is ineffective.

As a child, I welcomed all festivals because it meant celebration of good food and a ceremony of some sort and lots of playing time. Duanwu Festival, known as the Dragon Boat Festival or Double Fifth Festival in the west, was one of my favourites. On that particular day exactly at noon you can put eggs (uncooked) on the ground and they will stand up straight without any support and coins as well. My brothers and I would always compete to see who could have the most eggs and coins standing while my mother would be busy paying respect to the different gods we worship and hanging fresh mugwort at the front of the house to ward off any evil spirits. That was my first memory of mugwort.

Fast-forward thirty years later, having been a Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner for nearly a decade,now I play with fire everyday. In my practice, a treatment involving needling while excluding moxibustion is rare and almost unthinkable. The two techniques complement each other like hand and glove. Many of my patients who have had acupuncture treatments prior to seeing me are always intrigued and find the combination of acupuncture and moxibustion work even better and faster to improve their conditions.