Acupuncture & Moxibustion

Acupuncture & Moxibustion

Moxibustion is an external treatment applied by an acupuncturist; it is based on the theory of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), and it usually bakes acupoints with burning moxa wool. Moxibustion can dredge meridians and regulate qi-blood and has been used to prevent and cure diseases for more than 2500 years.

Why Use Moxibustion

Moxibustion has been applied in treating a great range of diseases.The most proper indications of moxibustion therapy are malposition, diarrhea, and colitis; the common proper indications are urinary incontinence and dysmenorrhea; the next common proper indications are knee osteoarthritis, temporomandibular joint disturbance syndrome, soft tissue injury, heel pain, asthma, urinary retention, and herpes zoster [1]. Moxibustion can also be used to treat weakness, fatigue, and aging related problems.

How Does Moxibustion Work

Chinese tradition moxa moxibustion

Moxa, Artemisia argyi Levl.et Vant., also known as mugwort, is a Compositae Artemisia perennial herb.The volatile oils of moxa include 1,8-Cineole, alkenes (alpha-thujene, pinene, sabinene, etc.), camphor, borneol, and little aldehydes, ketones, phenols, alkanes, and benzene series compounds. Heptatriacontane (C37H76) plays an important role in combustion [2]. The moxa also has tannins, flavonoids, sterols, polysaccharides, trace elements, and other ingredients.The volatile oil rate of moxa is 0.45%–1.00%.

Chinese tradition moxa moxibustion
Chinese traditional moxibustion

It has a variety of biological activities such as the expansion of airway smooth muscle, relieving cough, expectorant effect, and a strong antioxidant activity [3–5]. The moxa is rich in flavonoids and polysaccharides, which have strong antioxidant activity too [6, 7]. The smoke of moxa contains a variety of complex components, and its volatile ingredients are ammonia, alcohols (ethylene glycol, pentyl butanol), aliphatic hydrocarbons, aromatic hydrocarbons, terpene compounds and their oxides, and so forth.The smoke of moxa can be used in air disinfection and as antiviral and antifungal. It was also reported that it has applications in wound infections, vaginal itching, uterine prolapse, anal fistula, common warts, and so forth [8], and some studies showed that the smoke of moxa would make effects on the body through breathing [9].The moxibustion has a dual effect of tonification and purgation in TCM theories, which are based on two aspects: the actions of the meridian system and the roles of moxa and fire. Modern research works of the moxibustion mechanism mainly relate to the thermal effects, radiation effects, and pharmacological actions of moxa and its combustion products. Experimental results showed that moxibustion thermal stimulation affects both shallow and deep tissues of the skin, and the warm-heat effects of moxibustion have a close relation to the warm receptors or/and the polymodal receptor. The burning moxa radiation spectrum ranges from 0.8 to 5.6 μm; peak is nearby 1.5 μm, lying within the near infrared portion. When physical and chemical factors act on the acupoint receptors, the signal enters the central nervous system through the peripheral pathways and outgos after being integrated, adjusting the nerve-endocrine-immune network and circulatory system, so as to regulate the internal environment of the body, in order to achieve the effects of preventing and curing diseases [10].

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