Posts Tagged ‘moxabustion’
Jan 9, 2012
The Meaning of Zhen Jiu ( 针灸)
Acupuncture is not just acupuncture. In fact, the word for acupuncture in Chinese, Zhen Jiu, actually translates to “acupuncture and moxibustion” which shows how central moxibustion is within acupuncture.
Moxibustion is the warming of acupuncture points or needles. Most often, this is done through burning an herb called mugwort. It can also be done with heat lamps as well as herbal lotions.
In my office, we use smokeless moxibustion because it is treated and does not create much smoke.
How does Moxibustion work?
Just like with acupuncture, moxibustion focuses on correcting the underlying imbalance in the body.
Because it is warming, generally moxibustion is used when there is cold in the body. Moxibustion can help to warm the body and add qi as well. The warmth also helps to increase circulation.
Boosting the Qi
There is a tradition that one can use moxibustion on the acupuncture point Stomach 36 for 100 consecutive days in order to boost the body’s qi. I think this therapy is particularly effective for those with poor digestion or asthma due to low energy.
Aug 25, 2010
The New England Journal of Medicine recently published an article on their blog in support of acupuncture for back pain. The authors, all respected and established researchers, carefully analyze the current situation with regards to back pain, and even though there is controversy in the research, recommend treatment.
Some skeptics are asking why would these scientists make a recommendation even though the research is unclear? The answer is easy, because it works and it is very safe.
The issue with the research was that the acupuncture group was not different from the placebo acupuncture group. But both the acupuncture and the acupuncture placebo groups were better than standard treatment. Yes, you read that correctly, the placebo acupuncture was better than conventional treatment.
The Ouch Point Dilemma
The placebo acupuncture treatment has been a pain for years. Study after study shows that acupuncture does not work better than the placebo. Yet, at the same time, both the acupuncture and the placebo have a clinical effect which is better than conventional treatment. Why?
First, there is the ouch point dilemma. Ouch points are points which are sensitive and tender when you press them. Often they are not classical acupuncture points, rather they are simply on the muscle in the area of the pain. When an acupuncture investigator selects points for the placebo treatment, they use points off of the standard acupuncture channels. Many of the non-channel point may be ouch points and may aid in the pain reduction.
Second, designing a placebo needle that does not have a physiological effect is very difficult. Often they use a needle with a retractable tip that does not puncture the skin. This is much like a magicians sword which retracts the blade as he stabs his assistant. Other needles may be light touch needle, or even toothpicks, that gently prick the skin. But this too may have a physiological effect. Some styles of acupuncture use this light tapping as a way to relieve pain.
In the end, acupuncture is a physical medicine. It is difficult to create a placebo intervention that does not have a physiological reaction with the body.
Because it is Safe
The researchers recommend acupuncture for back pain because it is safe and it works better than conventional treatment. Studies after studies show there is minimal risk of severe side effects. To those with back pain it does not matter if it works better than a placebo. They just need to feel better.
In my next articles, I will explain how acupuncture works to treat back pain.
Sep 23, 2009
This is the 4th is a series explaining acupuncture and Chinese medicine theory and background.
How is acupuncture more than just acupuncture?
Acupuncture is one of the most powerful and versatile therapies in Chinese medicine, but it is not the only one. Acupuncturists use many techniques of Traditional East Asian Medicine.
Moxabustion is the burning of an herb call mugwort, ai ye in Chinese, close to specific acupuncture points or on the needle itself. It is used to warm and add energy to the acupuncture point. It also is good for moving stagnation.
Moxibustion is central to acupuncture treatment, the word for moxibustion is actually in the Chinese for acupuncture- zhen jiu. Zhen means needle, and jiu is refering to moxibustion.
Gua sha is the rubbing of a coin or a spoon on the skin. Often it is done on the upper and lower back, neck, and the ribs. It is a long time home remedy which is used for colds and fever, nausea, muscle aches and pain, as well as inhibited urination.
Often gua sha will break the blood vessels below the skin causing a bruise. In Chinese medicine we say this breaks blood stagnation and releases heat. Interestingly, if there is not too much heat present, or there is no blood stagnation, it does not create a bruise.
Cupping works in conjunction with acupuncture to relax muscles and increase circulation. During this therapy, glass, wooden, or plastic cups are applied to the skin. The inside of the cup is depressurized with a flame or a vacuum, so it then lifts up the skin below it.
This often leaves round bruises, which are mostly painless. It helps to relax the muscles and increase circulation. For more reading on cupping, I recommend this article at the Institute for Traditional Medicine.
Read More in this Series:
- The Theory Behind Acupuncture
- Acupuncture Stimulates The Brain to Heal Itself
- Acupuncture Channels and Points