What Is Moxibustion?

Wednesday, 22 Dec 2010 02:26 PM

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When people are ill, which health professional they turn to for healing varies. Some prefer western medicine, while others seek alternatives like Ayurveda or Chinese medicine. Increasingly, people are turning to herbal medicine to combat chronic disorders.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 80 percent  of people in the world use herbal medicines. Chinese herbs have been an important source of herbal remedies for thousands of years. Traditional Chinese medicine is a system that makes use of Chinese herbs and natural ingredients like animal products and minerals for promoting health and vitality. Apart from herbs, Chinese medicine also incorporates acupuncture, moxibustion, cupping, and other techniques. Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners use almost 500 different varieties of herbs and many medicines contain 20 to 30 kinds.
 
Moxibustion or “fire acupuncture,” is a technique of Chinese medicine, that uses heat treatment for stimulating specific points in the body. “Moxa” is the name for mugwort herb and “bustion” means burning: hence the name “moxibustion.”

Moxibustion is an important treatment method in the traditional medical systems of China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Tibet, and Mongolia. It is believed that moxibustion existed before acupuncture. One of the basic fundamentals on which this procedure is based is the ying/yang theory – the existence of two opposite yet complementary forces in the body.

This technique is also based upon the theory of 12 standard meridians in the human body, which are divided into ying/yang groups. In this therapy, mugwort herb is used to burn certain points in the body to alleviate the disease. It can involve direct burning of body points or indirect transmission of heat through heating acu-needles with mugwort. The mugwort is aged and ground to a fluff, which is then burnt or processed into a stick.

"Fire acupuncture” benefits the body because it removes the imbalance between “ying” and “yang,” which block the vital energy (‘qi’). It has also been found to be effective during pregnancy. In Germany, use of moxibustion during pregnancy is practiced to correct breech presentation of fetus in pregnant females. Clinical trials have proved its efficacy.

The moxibustion technique is believed to improve circulation to the particular area and is effective for irritable bowel syndrome, food allergy, and degenerative diseases like osteo arthritis.

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