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Moxibustion

MoxibustionThe ancient healing technique of Moxibustion, believed by some medical historians to pre-date even acupuncture, is approximately 3,000-years-old. It plays an important role in the Traditional medical systems of China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Tibet, and Mongolia. Moxibustion uses moxa or mugwort herb (artemisia vulgaris), applied directly or indirectly, in order to warm regions and acupuncture points. This combination of heat and herb stimulates circulation, encourages a smoother flow of blood and Qi, and protects against cold and dampness.

A cold constitution is triggered by an over cooling of the body systems.  Although you may not live in a climate that is cold or cool year round, you may still be overexposing yourself to cold.  Simple things like working in an office where the air conditioning is running all the time or drinking lots of ice water can result in a cold constitution.  Although our AC may make life more comfortable when the weather is hot, you are now exposing yourself to cold winds all year round. Other common causes of cold constitutions are over the counter pain relief medications that decrease body temperature, large consumption of fruits and raw vegetables, and ongoing mental/emotional stress.

Moxa is used for pain and deficient conditions, and has been clinically effective for treatment of common conditions such as acute and chronic pain (frozen shoulder, carpal tunnel syndrome, back pain, headaches, migraines), digestive upset (diarrhea, IBS), degenerative diseases, women's disorders, and sexual dysfunction (impotence, decreased libido). Moxa is also known to relieve anxiety by creating a deep relaxation response.

Moxa is generally not recommended for people with decreased sensitivity to pain, diabetes, people taking certain medications, who have a weakened immune system, or are diagnosed with having too much heat.

There are two types of Moxibustion techniques: Direct and Indirect. Cornerstone Healing employs the Indirect method, which is more closely based in the Chinese tradition.  Indirect moxibustion includes the use of "moxa boxes", ceramic temples that sit above specific areas of the body; "stick moxa", a cigar-like stick of moxa burned directly above the skin over specific points; and "needle head moxa", where small cylinders of moxa are placed on the ends of acupuncture needles so that the warmth penetrates deeply into the point without burning the skin. The Indirect method is just as successful as the Direct method.

The Direct method, which is used mainly in the Japanese tradition, requires a small or large cone shaped amount of moxa placed directly on the skin on top of an acupuncture point. Then cone is then burned on ointment or a slice of ginger and removed when the patient feels it hot.  Although this technique is highly regarded, it may have some undesirable affects such as blistering, burn marks or even scarring at the site.

 

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