I Played With Moxa – At First I Got Burned – But Found That TCM Moxibustion Is Da Bomb!

I am proud that I have remained consistently open to alternative health protocols.

I have practiced many and still do. Most alternative regiments are based on ancient healing practices that date back thousands of years, while Western Medicine is only a few hundred years old. I can’t disregard human history in my pursuit of optimal health.

I like that Traditional Chinese Medicine(TCM) practitioners never dictate that I avoid Western Medicine all together, and I haven’t. They generally believe that there is good in both disciplines, depending on the ailment. They lean more towards TCM than to Western Medicine, as I do, but do recognize Western Medicine’s superiority in treating specific medical issues.

Following alternative regiments and avoiding serious side-effects from prescription medicine has worked well for me. I have better-than-normal vitals and take no prescription meds regularly, including cholesterol, pressure, sugar, fluid, If there was a common theme to my approach to health and healing, it would be detoxification. In my diet, relationships, medicine, supplements, and incidents, I strive to avoid toxicity. Therefore, I take very little prescription medicine. The most common prescription drug that I take is prescription-grade vitamin D. In Colorado, though we get sunlight year-round, in the winter months, we are generally homebound.

I have taken antibiotics, sterols, and antifungal prescription meds, but only for a short while, often halving the recommended dosage, and detoxing before and after. I have not totally eliminated prescription medicine, but rarely take it, and when I do, I exercise extreme caution.

Unlike most Americans, I do not take any prescription drugs on a daily or regular basis. Having to do so is one of my biggest fears. Certainly, after being on a drug for months or years, our DNA changes and we often develop other conditions from the side-effects. I fear ever being caught in a prescription drug vicious cycle, whereby I must take additional drugs to offset side-effects. I know a few people who take prescription drugs regularly who take only one. I take none.

Here are the top-selling drugs, according to MedMD, Tony Brown, RN – May 2015. Chances are that today these numbers are much higher.

There is great profit to be made in prescription medicine.

There is a great amount of responsibility and belief in choosing alternative medicine practices.

Humira (adalimumab), which treats conditions including arthritis and Crohn’s disease, overtook last year’s best-seller, Abilify (aripiprazole).

The top 10 medications by the number of monthly prescriptions are:

  1. Thyroid – Synthroid (levothyroxine), 21.5 million
  2. Cholesterol – Crestor (rosuvastatin), 21.4 million
  3. Breathing – Ventolin HFA (albuterol), 18.2 million
  4. Reflux – Nexium (esomeprazole), 15.2 million
  5. Asthma and Bronchitis – Advair Diskus (fluticasone), 13.7 million
  6. Diabetes – Lantus Solostar (insulin glargine), 10.9 million
  7. Anxiety/Psyche – Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine), 10.4 million
  8. Diabetes – Lyrica (pregabalin), 10.0 million
  9. Asthma and Bronchitis – Spiriva Handihaler (tiotropium), 9.6 million
  10. Diabetes – Januvia (sitagliptin), 9.1 million

The top 10 meds by sales are:

  1. Liver – Humira (adalimumab), $8.2 billion
  2. Anxiety/Psyche – Abilify (aripiprazole), $7.9 billion
  3. Hepatitis C – Sovaldi (sofosbuvir), $6.9 billion
  4. Cholesterol – Crestor (rosuvastatin), $5.9 billion
  5. Arthritis – Enbrel (etanercept), $5.9 billion
  6. Hepatitis C – Harvoni (ledipasvir and sofosbuvir), $5.3 billion
  7. Reflux – Nexium (esomeprazole), $5.3 billion
  8. Asthma and Bronchitis – Advair Diskus (fluticasone), $4.7 billion
  9. Diabetes – Lantus Solostar (insulin glargine), $4.7 billion
  10. Crohn’s/Immunity – Remicade (infliximab), $4.6 billion

Even more important than following alternative methods is my ability to draw a mind-body connection in my healing practices. I believe that prayer, meditation, and visualization are critical elements to healing more naturally. I see that if my mind, body, spirit, and soul are receptive to healing, I will receive it.

This belief has common-man scientific support in the placebo effect experiments. The conclusion was that if the patient believes in healing, they will get healed, even if the treatment is a placebo. Vice-versa is true too.

So, even if my beliefs in alternative therapies, meditation, prayer, and God’s healing are placebos, they will work, simply because I believe. I do not care if what I practice to stay healthy is ‘all in my mind’ or not. I don’t believe that it is. But if it, in fact, is, so what? It still works!

Brief Explanation of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Theory

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is an ancient form of healthcare that dates back over 2,500 years and includes natural treatments such as acupuncture, herbal remedies, dietary advice, stress/emotional support, exercise including tai chi and qigong and treatments such as cupping and moxibustion. TCM along with Ayurveda are two of the oldest and most renowned forms of ancient medicine in the world and are returning quickly in popularity. A dear friend from Indian says that the Chinese stole its theory from Ayurveda.

TCM is “holistic” and “natural” because it stimulates the body’s own healing mechanisms and considers all aspects of a patient’s life, rather than just several obvious signs or symptoms. TCM practitioners view the body as a complex network of interconnected parts (part of a larger concept known as Qi), rather than separate systems or organs.

Traditional Chinese Medicine treatments aim to correct imbalances in the body and primarily work in three major ways:

  1. Addressing a patient’s external factors and environment
  2. Helping patients relate to their internal emotions in a healthier way, including managing stress
  3. Improving someone’s lifestyle factors, including diet and exercise routine

Organs that are especially focused on during TCM treatments include the kidneys, heart, spleen, liver, lung, gallbladder, small intestine, and large intestine. Depending on the specific type, the benefits of TCM therapies range considerably. Some of the health problems most commonly treated with Traditional Chinese Medicine therapies include Chronic pain, Arthritis, Fatigue, Infertility, Liver disease, Headaches, Indigestion, Hormonal imbalances, High blood pressure, PMS or menopause symptoms, and Cancer recovery or chemotherapy.

Read More – Traditional Chinese Medicine Benefits – Dr. Axe

Theory of Meridians

TCM usually takes “needling” and “moxibustion” collectively, for both of them are similar therapeutics based on the same theory of meridian and acupoint. In other words, the moxibustion therapeutic effect is partly dependent on the body’s nonspecific system of meridians.


Moxibustion is closely related to meridians, cutaneous regions, and acupoints. Meridian system consists of channels and collaterals; they are pathways of communicating internal and external, contacting organs, running qi-blood, and regulating the whole body. Ling Shu, Hai Lun says that there are twelve regular channels, the inner ones belong to viscera and the outer ones connect with limbs. TCM believes that a person is as a whole. The organs and limbs communicate and interact through the meridian system, which plays a very important role in physiological functions and pathological processes. The cutaneous regions are the surface part of the twelve regular channels, which are nourished by channel-qi. The cutaneous regions can show the status of qi-blood from meridians and organs, also it can receive treatment stimulation and then make effects. Acupoints are the sites on the body surface, in which the qi of organs and meridians assembled, that act as target points and response points of treatment.

In the moxibustion treatment process, the cutaneous regions and acupoints are the terminals of the meridian system, as the receivers, by which moxibustion stimulations can be transmitted into the body. Through the meridian system, moxibustion can reinforce insufficiency and reduce excessiveness and directly correct the disease state of the human body or activate the meridian system self-healing function and play a therapeutic role. For example, the different acupoints can cure different diseases in moxibustion, and the same acupoints can get similar results regardless of acupuncture or moxibustion; all of these proved that the body meridian and acupoint system play an important role in the treatment of moxibustion.

Different Traditional Chinese Medicine Therapies

  • Acupuncture: Helps lower pain, improve hormonal balance and combat stress
  • Cupping therapy: Used for pain management, improving immunity and helping with digestion
  • Herbal medicine: Used to control inflammation, fight free radical damage and boost liver function
  • Nutrition: For preventing deficiencies, boosting energy and improving detoxification
  • Exercise: Including Qi gong or tai chi for flexibility, strength, and concentration
  • Massage: Soft tissue manipulation for improving blood flow, one of which is called tui na
  • Moxibustion: Burning an herb near the skin

Read More – Traditional Chinese Medicine Benefits – Dr. Axe



Moxibustion or moxa is a therapeutic healing technique originating in ancient China that is used in many modern acupuncture clinics today. The practice involves burning medicinal herbs over specific acupuncture points or areas of pain to warm and heal a specific condition. We use it for a variety of health concerns including arthritis, reproductive issues, digestive disorders, or even in turning a breech baby.

The herb harvested and aged for the use of moxibustion comes from the mugwort plant (Artemisia vulgaris) which is an annoying weed for gardeners, but a wonderful plant if you’re cultivating it for medicinal purposes. When it is burned for therapeutic use, it gives off a strong aromatic odor similar to that of burning sage or what many people mistake for marijuana. So you can imagine why many practitioners leave it out of their practice space. It could be especially problematic for an acupuncturist who shares an office with other practitioners or for those who don’t have particularly good ventilation systems. Many acupuncturists are sensitive to the smoke and scent of moxa themselves.



Warms the Channels: According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) cold can invade the body and become lodged within acupuncture channels which run throughout it. This can result in pain in a certain area which often will feel worse in cold weather and feel better with the application of heat. For instance, some kinds of arthritis are “cold type” and are felt more intensely in the winter months. Moxa is particularly useful in these cases.

Promotes Circulation of Qi & Blood: Moxa is warming and moving. It helps to promote movement of blood and qi, so it is particularly good for pain, which occurs when qi or blood stagnate. It has been especially popular in gynecology for menstrual cramps and you can use it to heal bruises more quickly.

Stimulates Acupuncture Points: We also use moxa to stimulate specific points such as the point on the little toe which helps to turn a breech baby. Some points on the body are contraindicated for needling such as the point on the umbilicus which is helpful for some digestive disorders. It is a common practice to place a cone of direct moxa on a piece of ginger or a pile of salt on this point. Can’t and wouldn’t stick a needle there. Ouch! But moxa? Yes, please!

Builds Qi & Blood: Moxa therapy has been shown to increase immune function, specifically increase white blood cell counts, anti-inflammatory cytokines & anti-body production. In addition to improving your immunity and helping you when you are feeling run down, it has proven to be particularly helpful in treating illnesses where the immune system is compromised and can help people who are prone to getting sick. In TCM, this loosely translates to building qi and blood; two of the main substances essential for life and vitality.

Different Forms of Moxa

Moxa comes in many shapes and forms, and the type your acupuncturist chooses is based on what area of the body they’re treating, what they’re trying to accomplish, or their personal preference and style. And of course, what their workspace allows.

  • Moxa Stick: Moxa is a wool-like substance which can be rolled into something resembling a cigar. Once the end is lit, it can be burned an inch or so over a large area or near a specific acupuncture point. Moxa sticks come in smoky or non-smoky forms and are usually what you’ll take home if you’ve been prescribed moxa from your acupuncturist.
  • Thread: Tiny threads of moxa can be used on acupuncture points or places on the body which we wouldn’t stick a needle, such as in a tendon or bony surface. We typically use an ointment or cream to separate the thread from the skin and the thread is lit using an incense stick. Instead of warming an area, the heat from thread moxa penetrates a direct location.
  • Direct: Pure, wool-like moxa can be shaped into a cone and placed on specific acupuncture points. It is usually burnt about 2/3 down before being removed. It should have a nice warming effect without getting too hot.
  • Liquid: Some companies have made moxa into a liquid which can be used over an area of the body and placed under a heat lamp to get the warming effect. A lot of practitioners use this if they can’t burn moxa in their office.
  • Needle: Pure moxa will be rolled into a ball and placed on the end of an acupuncture needle and burned. The heat from the moxa warms the surface of the skin and also transfers through the needle deeper into an acupuncture point. This is my favorite!
  • Moxa Lamp & Bed: This is a form of Moxa that I have never used. I listed it because I saw it on one of the videos below. The lamp and bed look pretty cool.

Kevy’s Experience

I love TCM, both acupuncture and moxa. I believe I was placed on the Earth to love all the weird things in life.

I have tried to turn friends on to TCM, but most are not receptive to it. I firmly believe that only those regiments to which one is receptive will ever have a chance of working. So I usually give up on trying to convince them.

Experiencing Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treatments is always deeply personal for me. I have received acupuncture treatments for over 20 years. Currently, I get them 2 – 4 times a month.

Once the needles are in their proper meridians, I ascend into a deep meditation and visualization while in treatment, never opening my eyes until the needles are removed. In nearly every case, when the session is complete, I have a very cathartic feeling.

Though I am very familiar with Moxibustion (Moxa), it is a form of TCM to which most people are not familiar. I have received and have self-administered Moxa treatments for about five years. In these sessions, I meditate and visualize. Often, I pray too.

Moxa relies on the same TCM meridians, cutaneous regions, and acupoints, used in acupuncture. Meridian channels, pathways of communicating with organs, qi-blood, and regulating the whole body.

Acupuncture applies needles to the points (meridians) on the body.

Moxa applies heat to these same points, relative to the patient’s ailment.

I have gotten burned doing moxa, but only received minor burns. For a few days, I would have red marks on the spots where the heated disks were placed. In TCM having the burn marks are regarded as a sign of a good treatment, provided they are on the correct points. I use the red marks to mark the spot of the meridians that I regularly treat.

Many doctors and practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine swear by the effectiveness of moxa treatments. Some doctors say that you should not do it too often.

Initially, I did moxa treatments 4 – 6 times a month. Now, I have leveled off, doing them once or twice, every month or so. I did it a couple of weeks ago and will do a moxa treatment today.

The key to effective TCM treatments is knowing the correct meridians for Moxa or Acupuncture. The TCM Meridian Chart is quite complicated because there are points on the legs, hands, feet, torso, and various other parts of the body that regulate qi for the same organs and conditions. Lay people could never figure it out.

Just get a good Chinese doctor, supplemented with a good practitioner.

Please read our medical disclaimer statement. Alternative regiments work best if you practice a holistic lifestyle and believe in the benefits of the regiments you follow. Alternative healing, when optimally effective, is a lifestyle, diet, and even spiritual practice.



Mugwort: The Herb that Fights Joint Pain, Depression & Cancer?By Rebekah Edwards – June 25, 2018

Traditional Chinese Medicine Benefits, Herbs & Therapies – By Dr. Josh Axe, DC, DMN, CNS – June 24, 2018

The Mechanism of Moxibustion: Ancient Theory and Modern Research – Hongyong Deng 1 and Xueyong Shen

How does moxibustion work? Does it hurt?


Moxibustion therapy – 638 views – Parker Jo – Published on Aug 13, 2016

Most kidney diseases are chronic conditions, functional disorders. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine theory, most of the Chronic disease patients have a cold or stagnant constitution. Even some patients who appear to be manifesting heat, really have an underlying chronic cold in their system which creates the heat-syndrome-like symptoms as their body tries to balance.

Moxibustion Explained – 13,005 views – Amy Wolf – Published on Mar 18, 2016

Traditional Chinese Medicine is more than just acupuncture and herbal medicine! Amy Wolf, the founder of Herb + Ohm, explains how she uses moxibustion in her practice.

Clearing Heat With Moxibustion – 560 views – worldacupuncture – Published on May 21, 2012

Is it possible to use moxibustion in heat conditions?

Moxa & Moxibustion – What is it? – 4,961 views Katika Funnell – Published on Sep 19, 2012

Moxa is the oldest therapy in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Used to strengthen the action of acupuncture points, improve circulation, disperse cold in the body and improve joint and muscle mobility, Moxa is a versatile and effective therapy for children and adults. Chinese Moxibustion can be applied using moxa sticks or small stubs of moxa on the end of acupuncture needles. Moxibustion is safe when performed by a fully qualified Acupuncturist or TCM Practitioner, as they have been properly trained and understand the technique better than any other modality. Moxa sticks are held 1-2 inches away from the skin to generate a deep and consistent warmth, more effective than infrared or ultrasound. Ask our professionals more about Moxa today.http://www.familywellnesscentre.com.au

Moxa: How To Do Moxibustion at Home – 10,271 views – Whispering Waters Wellness – Published on Mar 7, 2017

This short video demonstrates and explains the safe and effective use of burning a mugwort pole as moxibustion for your friend or loved one at home. Primarily it is meant as a reference for patients who have been instructed to do moxibustion (moxa for short) at home in between office visits. If you are looking for an acupuncturist in Boone NC, please visit my website at WhisperingWatersWellness.com, book online at AlchemyBoone.com or call Tom Eddins, L.Ac. at (828)773-5032.

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2 thoughts on “I Played With Moxa – At First I Got Burned – But Found That TCM Moxibustion Is Da Bomb!

  1. Pingback: ‘Corona Casandra’ Is Something Else – This Is Kevy’s Earth, Wind & Fire Method To Put That Gurl In Check! – Life Seasons As A Teacher

  2. Roe

    Some time ago I received from a friend a small quantity of Moxa fluff. As it seems to be more than 10 years old – I am wondering if it is still potent and good for use. Can you help with advice please?
    Thank you and have a wonderful day :))

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