Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A brief overview, and my personal experience with moxa


An Overview

Moxibustion is a traditional Chinese medicine (TMC) technique which using the burning of mugwort. There are several varieties; Direct, both scarring and non scarring, where the moxa is placed directly on the skin and burned until it becomes too hot, or with the scarring method it is left to burn completely. Indirect utilizes moxa poles, moxa on an insulating medium, warming the needle, and warming instruments. It can be used with needles and is commonly paired with acupuncture. Non scarring and indirect styles are what we commonly see here in America. In TCM the aim is to free qi and blood, disperse cold, eliminate damp, and warm yang. It moves things that are stuck, and causes activity. It is also known for it’s ability to ward off disease.

Common Uses
Moxibustion can treat many conditions, including:

• Headaches/Migraines• Back Pain• Joint and Wrist Pain• Muscular Tension• Digestive Irregularities • Irritable Bowel Syndrome• Menstrual Problems• Elimination Problems• Neck Pain• Shoulder Pain• Stress Relief and Stress Management• Tinnitus• Insomnia

Skin conditions
Moxibustion is well known for it's use in dealing with skin conditions, such as bruising, cuts, whiteheads, and psoriasis. In these cases, a moxa pole is used for usually 5-15 minutes to indirectly apply heat over the affected area. It brings blood and Qi to the area which accelerates the healing. It also works to pull toxins out of boils.

Muscular Tension and Pain
Moxibustion does wonders for shoulder and back pain. The warmth from the moxa penetrates deep into the muscles and has a very soothing effect. Moxa also breaks up stagnation and invigorates the blood, which can help relieve the ache. Just by bringing awareness and healing energy to your pain you can sometimes help release it.

Moxibustion for Energy & Mood
A Personal Experience
This is something I've seen be very effective in myself. I have Lymes Disease and suffer from chronic fatigue and occasional low mood. Moxa has some very nice energetic properties. In class we practiced an indirect technique called a belly bowl. The moxa was in hollow stick form and placed in a small bowl which kept it raised slightly from my skin. The bowl had holes in it to enable the heat and smoke travel deep into my core.

We did this outside on a wonderful sunny March day. After Cynthia, my teacher, lit the moxa and placed it in the bowl it was set about an inch above my navel. Within the first minute I started feeling a sensation, as if there was a spring in my core and it was tightening slowly. I felt myself being filled with potential energy.
This sensation continued on even after the moxa was removed, and I was extremely energized all week. I was more motivated than I had been all season. This led to me getting many tasks done that I had been putting off, even a few hiking trips over the next two weeks. I felt great and I give credit to moxa. I would be interested to know if anyone else with chronic fatigue sees results with this. Please feel free to leave a comment with your experiences and any questions.

Moxa should not be used on anyone who is fasting, has just overeaten, or is intoxicated. Pregnant women should not receive moxibustion on their abdomen or lower back, and all other use should be performed by professional. Moxa should not be used any where that is inflamed or exhibiting fire signs. It should also not be used over blood vessels, arteries, mucus membranes, prominent skin creases, or anywhere on the face. It is not to be used over an active tumor. Anyone with an aggressive personality or in an irritable state should not use it either, it can be too invigorating. Not contraindicated but use caution with high blood pressure. A note for belly bowl moxa, if you are near your cycle it can jump start it.

Fundamentals of Chinese Acupuncture by Ellis - Wiseman - Boss

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