Long story short – Moxibustion creates smoke and in my modest 24+ years of Amma practice I’ve seen Lung pulses decline and Lung pathologies sky rocket. Weighing the options, I know view it as too harmful to use with most clients.

About moxibustion –

Moxibustion is a wonderful Traditional Chinese herbal therapy that’s been in practice for thousands of years and is a common part of many Asian medicine. It’s used in Korea, China, Japan and Taiwan and its use dates back in written word for more than 2,500 years – likely its use goes back further.  The practice consists of the practitioner burning mugwort over certain areas of the body to introduce heat into the body to treat a wide range of conditions including: pain, fatigue, spasms, digestive difficulties, menstrual difficulties and calming the emotions.

Moxibustion is usually made from mugwort (artemesia vulgaris) is a member of the chrysanthemum family. It is used in many different forms from loose cottony moxa, to poles, used in irons and stick-ons.  Therapies vary from points used, to length of exposure, repetition, quality of moxa and form used. Other hrebs like sandalwood and patchouli are sometimes substituted or used for their particular benefits. 

Energetically, moxa drains dampness, warms cold, moves stagnation of cold and blood, eases pain, calms the Shen and warms the uterus, expedites labor. Its indications include slow, sluggish digestion, cold limbs, frail and weak constitution, arthritic conditions, muscular and joint point worsens with damp and cold conditions, diarrhea, painful periods and infertility.  Its contraindications include any heat conditions, use with caution during pregnancy.  Use with caution on the face and head and never use it over open wounds – ouch.  

So why am I putting aside such a wonderful therapy?

The answer is simple – smoke. Anything that is burned will create smoke and moxa is a particularly strong. For clients with weak lungs, allergies and asthma any addition smoke is not going to benefit their lungs.  As I’ve watched Lung conditions get weaker with pollution and weak immune systems I’m particularly cautious of practices and weather conditions that contribute to declining health in my clients.  I myself have a very strong sense of smell and moxa lingers heavily in air clinging to me and my clothes and in the room. I also work with a lot of clients with very weak and compromised system like cancer, autoimmune disorders and to try to clear the air from one treatment to the next is just too difficult. I opt for other heat and herb therapies.

Do I still teach moxibustion to students? Yes, but only in a well ventilated place where it won’t affect other clients and with plenty of notice to the practitioners that I share space with.

Do I recommend it for some clients? Yes, and I can give them pretty clear instructions on how to use a moxa stick at home on themselves, but again, I won’t drag other clients into it.

Here’s to better Lungs – April