Acupuncture and Moxibustion

The Meaning of Zhen Jiu ( 针灸)

Moxibustion on HandAcupuncture is not just acupuncture.  In fact, the word for acupuncture in Chinese, Zhen Jiu, actually  translates to “acupuncture and moxibustion.” This  shows how central moxibustion is within acupuncture.

Moxibustion is the warming of acupuncture points or needles. This is done through burning an herb called mugwort.

Moxibustion is a wonderful treatment for chronic pain or chronic fatigue syndrome.

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.

We also use a TDP lamp, which is a special infrared lamp.  This warming lamp is extremely comfortable and soothing for painful muscles, menstrual cramps, or just for feeling relaxed and comfortable. The heat from the TDP lamp is similar to the moxabustion in that it warms and creates circulation in the body.

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 boost the body’s qi.   The soothing heat also helps to increase circulation.

needle head moxabustion on back
Warming Needle Head Moxabustion on Back

I use moxibustion often. I find it is very helpful for some people with Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndromechronic low back pain, in addition to digestive issues.

Moxabustion can be used on the acupuncture needles, as shown in the picture.  It can also be used as a cigar or small kernels on acupuncture points.  We are trained to use it carefully and patients are not burned.

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.  This therapy is particularly effective for those with poor digestion or asthma due to low energy.

Moxabustion also helps to unblock stagnation and move the qi. This can be very helpful for pain conditions.

Joseph Alban, L.Ac.
Latest posts by Joseph Alban, L.Ac. (see all)