Moxibustion is the burning of the herb artemisia vulgaris or mugwort on or over the skin. It may be used in place of, or in addition to acupuncture. It is considered to have a range of therapeutic effects but will usually not be used on patients who already tend to feel hot.
There are four common methods of applying moxibustion:
Moxa stick - a ‘cigar’ of rolled mugwort is lit and held or moved over acupuncture points or large areas of the body.
Moxa cones - loose moxa is formed into a small cone, placed on an acupuncture point and burnt down until the patient feels the warmth. The cone is then quickly removed. A number of cones are usually used on each point, one after another. The point may then be needled.
Moxa on needle - a small roll of moxa is placed on the handle of a needle that has already been inserted and is then lit. The heat travels through the needle into the body.
Moxa box - loose moxa is placed within a box, the box is placed on a large area such as the abdomen or lower back and the moxa is then lit.