Moxa means “burning herb” and although it sounds generic, that herb is generally mugwort. Mugwort used in Moxa goes through complex harvesting methods that involve several levels of ‘small-batch sifting’ and ‘ground drying’ for 3-5 years. The amount of sifting differentiates whether Moxa is low (less sifting) or high grade (more sifting). The result of this hard work is “Moxa wool,” an almost fluffy, golden bundle that has the texture of wool, hence the name. Both high and low grade Moxa have the same healing properties, but are good for different types of therapies. As a result of the minimal sifting, low grade Moxa has more sediment in it that allows it to bind better to itself, but burns much hotter. Higher grade Moxa burns cooler and is better when used close to the skin.
Moxibustion is the burning of moxa to activate acupuncture points. It is most well-known in the western world for it’s ability to turn a breach baby during pregnancy, but it can also help to boost the immune system, relax muscles and tendons, and decrease pain. Because of its warming properties, Moxa is one of my favorite modalities to use. Here in the cold Upper Peninsula our bodies get bombarded by cold. This cold weather and lack of sunshine can cause weakened immune systems, and tight and strained muscle. Moxa’s warmth can also help relieve arthritis, menstrual discomfort, and seasonal affective disorder and other types of depression.
I love using Moxa in the treatment room, I find most people find it soothing and warming. Moxa is not meant for everybody, but many people here in the North do benefit. I, generally, prefer to use a higher grade Moxa on specific points, close to the skin; but, always with some insulation. I will, at times, use a lower grade Moxa pre-wrapped and further away from the skin in the form of a “Moxa stick” to increase warmth to a general area of the body. Call today to see how Moxa can help you!