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Moxibustion prodecure

What is Moxibustion?

Moxibustion is a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) therapy that uses burning dried mugwort or 'moxa', a small, spongy herb on particular points on the body. It involves practitioners burning moxa, a cone or stick composed of ground mugwort leaves on or near the patient's meridians/channels and acupuncture points. Moxibustion is often used in conjunction with other TCM treatments by practitioners to help rebalance and rejuvenate patients.

The heat created stimulates these specific points and helps to improve the flow of the body's lifeforce energy -  Qi (Chee). It is the belief within TCM that by increasing the circulation of Qi, the body can begin to heal itself from illness, pain and more.

The heat created also helps to combat one of our biggest causes of Qi blockages – Cold. Just like it constricts the flow of water when frozen, cold in the body restricts the flow of Qi, body fluids and blood in the body. Moxibustion is a very penetrating herb that moves and expels even the deepest levels of cold.

The key purpose of moxibustion is to strengthen and stimulate the flow of blood and qi throughout the body to improve the individual's mental, physical and emotional well-being.

How is moxibustion carried out?

There are two ways in which moxibustion can be carried out, either directly or indirectly. When practitioners use direct moxibustion, the moxa cone or rice grain is gently placed onto the skin at the chosen acupuncture point. The cone is then lit and is allowed to burn until the skin starts to turn red. Once the patient begins to feel a warming sensation, the practitioner will remove the cone. Often a protective barrier is used under the moxa, either a cream, drop of water, sprinkle of salt of or a thin slice of ginger is used to stop the skin from being burnt.

Indirect moxibustion is the more commonly practised form of moxibustion as it is seen as the safer method. The burning moxa will never directly come into contact with the skin, and instead, the practitioner will hold it above the body until the skin turns red and feels warm.

Warming a needle with Moxa at the end of the needle or using adding moxa to a device such as a Moxa Box that is then laid on to the skin or a massage given with the warm tool are other ways in which moxibustion can be used alongside your acupuncture treatments at Tonic Acupuncture.

What are the benefits?

As with all TCM treatments, moxibustion effectively stimulates circulation, improving the flow of qi and expelling cold and dampness from the body. It is often referred to in TCM as warming the meridians, which is particularly effective in relieving pain in the back and neck as well as arthritic pain, menstrual pain and digestive discomfort.

Moxibustion is best known, however, for being an effective alternative therapy to assist with breech babies. Many expectant mothers use TCM to help with adjusting their baby when it is positioned feet first in the birth canal. This process is usually carried out at around 34 weeks using the safer indirect moxibustion and focuses on specific acupuncture points at the feet known to help strengthen the womb so baby feels held well by the womb to trust going head down.

Moxibustion procedure

What conditions can moxibustion assist with?

Moxibustion can be used to help a wide range of conditions and illnesses, but some of the most common are:

  • Pain from injuries

  • Arthritis

  • Digestive Issues

  • Menstrual cramps

  • Joint or muscle pain

  • Chronic pain

  • Fertility issues

  • Eczema

  • Fatigue

  • Cold and Flu prevention

  • Asthma symptoms


In recent years the World Health Organisation (WHO) has increasingly supported the practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine, including the use of moxibustion. Its safety, minimal side effects, and growing body of evidence-based research have helped demonstrate numerous health benefits, particularly in assisting pregnant women with breech babies.

Is Moxibustion Painful?

Generally, moxibustion is not painful, and many patients report feeling a pleasant warming sensation that penetrates deep beneath the skin. Practitioners are very careful with how close or how long the moxa is placed onto the skin to ensure no risk of pain or burning. If you have any concerns or questions about how moxibustion is performed, please don't hesitate to speak to one of our team by  booking your free 20 min telephone chat. We are more than happy to put your mind at ease and explain this relaxing and therapeutic treatment in depth.

Get in touch today

If you would like to find out more about moxibustion or have any questions about the treatment, please get in touch with us today on 01772 230969 or email us at We proudly offer a range of Traditional Chinese Medicine treatments from our clinic in Longridge for a range of conditions and ailments. To book an appointment, please visit our Longridge Clinic booking page

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