People tend to view acupuncture and moxa as separate therapies when in actuality the Chinese character for acupuncture is Zhen Jiu – acupuncture moxabustion. This invaluable therapy has been practiced alongside acupuncture for the past 3,000 years. It dates back prior to when humans used fire for treating disease. Evolving from the burning or bustion of twigs and branches – the most commonly used herb then and today – is mugwort – (Artemisia Vulgaris). Mugwort is considered best medicinally when harvested as a leaf and prepared into loose wool which is formed into a cone and burned until warmth is felt on the skin. It can also be prepared into stick form and burned indirectly to warm points along the channels of the body.
Mugwort is warm in nature with bitter and pungent properties that make it a yang herb that burns easily and slowly for a deep penetrating effect. It is traditionally harvested seasonally at spring equinox or summer solstice to heighten the yang effect.
The therapeutic effect of moxa comes in the manner of warming the channels to scatter cold, dispel damp, drain heat, and unblock stagnation, assisting with nourishing and constricting and to move or raise energy. Moxa has a wide ranging benefits from maintaining smooth circulation, relieving pain by clearing blockages, nourishing to strengthen the immune and raising and lifting the mood to calm the mind.