Fire of Life
The practice of Moxibustion involves burning of the plant wormwood (artemisiae argyi) on/or near the surface of the skin. It is an integral component of the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and it is considered as part of scope of acupuncture as it is applied to the meridian system of the body. Chinese Classics state that where acupuncture can’t help, moxa would help. Due to the fact that the burning of the plant produces smoke and smell, it is not as popular in the West as acupuncture. However, moxibustion might prove to be one of the most efficient but the most underused modalities of TCM.
The use of Moxibution for health prevention and treatment of disease dates back to 500 BC in ancient China. In the Balkans, burning of dried wormwood was used by the ancient Thracians in purification and healing rituals.
Wormwood leaves are made into moxa sticks. Lit they produce heat that radiates Yang Qi (healing energy) to sensitive points. By stimulating Qi in the channels(meridians) to arrive at the side of disease, moxibustion invigorates the body’s natural healing abilities and defence mechanisms. According to TCM, this is pure Yang energy treatment and it is an excellent tool for addressing cold-related pathologies (as per the theory of the Five Elements) such as incontinence, infertility, childhood enuresis, menopausal symptoms, erectile dysfunction, aging, any chronic depletion conditions and more.
- Circulates Qi in the meridians and the collaterals: when lit the dry wormwood can travel through the 12 channels, it regulates Qi and Blood and moves stagnation. According the Chinese Classics (Yellow Emperor’s Canon), to treat any disease, a skilled therapist would need to bring Qi to the diseased part to open the channel (meridian).
- Eliminates toxins, clears heat: although, in its nature moxibustion is a heat therapy, it also has a powerful effect in moving Qi and resolving stagnation. Moxibustion can actually decrease body’s temperature and it is applicable in conditions such as bacterial infection, fever, insect bite. Indirect moxa over wounds and fungal spores disinfects the diseased site. Indirect moxa can heat the surface of the skin up to 46⁰C. It is very efficient in the treatment of Herpes Zoster because it disrupts the virus and kills it.
Benefits of Moxibustion:
- Prevents disease and promotes health: fortifies the internal organs, expels pathogens, harmonizes Yin and Yang and prolongs life span. An ancient proverb says: “Prevention is better than cure.”
- Tonifies Yang: the leaves of wormwood are bitter and pungent when raw, hot when burned and their nature is pure Yang. The application of moxibustion restores the Yang in our body and prevents it from collapse.
Ref. Materia Medica Qing Dynasty.
- Eliminates Damp Cold: according to TCM a large majority of unexplained infertility cases are due to Damp Cold in the uterus. Moxibustion warms up the uterus by eliminating these pathogens and creates an optimum environment (homeostasis) for conception. Therefore, the application of moxibustion, acupuncture and pelvic health physiotherapy by a qualified practitioner in combination with proper nutrition and lifestyle modification, almost always leads to successful conception.