What’s that Smoky Smell?

Sometimes, new patients enter our office and ask what’s burning. The smoky smell, which many find quite pleasant, comes from a form of herbal heat therapy performed by acupuncturists and known as moxibustion.

Moxibustion is a traditional Chinese medicine technique that involves the burning of the herb mugwort, latin name artemisia vulgaris, to facilitate healing. It is commonly rolled into a cylindrical shape and burned near the surface of the skin to warm the skin, tissues, and joints in specific areas of treatment. Moxa has been used throughout Asia for thousands of years, and its usefulness has been demonstrated in the modern clinical setting by licensed acupuncturists in America and across the world.

The purpose of moxibustion is to warm the body, increase blood circulation, and promote general health. In traditional Chinese medicine, it is known to expel cold and warm the channels, which is especially useful for conditions such as osteoarthritis and chronic pain, which gets worse in cold or damp weather. Moxa creates heat that penetrates deeply into the joints and tissues to relax tight muscles and stiff joints.

Moxa has also been shown to improve general health by stimulating the function of the immune system. This is an important treatment principle for people who suffer from frequent illness, weakness, chronic fatigue, and immunodeficiencies, including side effects of steroids, chemotherapy, and other immunosuppressant pharmaceutical approaches.

Patients report that moxa is deeply relaxing and that the feeling of warmth is soothing and long-lasting. I have personally found that many patients experience longer periods of pain relief between their acupuncture appointments when moxa is used in their sessions. Acupuncturists often use moxibustion as one part of a complete acupuncture treatment, and it can be combined with other therapeutic methods, such as cupping and E-stim. Moxa can also be a stand-alone therapy. At Acu-Na Wellness Center, we offer 30-minute moxa sessions as well as combinations of acupuncture/moxa or cupping/moxa for 60 minutes. As with all of our therapeutic modalities, we invite you to experience for yourself and decide whether it enhances your personal path to wellness.

Experience the profound effects of moxibustion for yourself. Check out our current monthly specials.

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