Moxa Season – Time to Build Qi and Blood

3 February 2021 is the beginning of Spring Moxa Season, which lasts about 4 weeks, with the peak being Chinese Lunar New Year, which is Feb 12 this year. During this time the “Life Gate” is open and illness can invade more deeply than at other times of year. This is also the time when moxibustion (moxa for short) can penetrate more deeply than usual into the “Life Gate” or Ming Men (aka Lower Dan Tien or inside the lower belly) because is open at this time. This is great for preventing illness.

Moxa strengthens the constitution and immune system, builds Qi and Blood, increases the energy and circulation of the whole body, can help pain due to cold and damp, and can soften lumps!

Moxibustion is a Chinese herb called mugwort (Ai Ye, Artemisia Vulgaris) that we use to warm certain points or areas of the body in order to warm and strengthen the Qi there. Common areas where moxa is applied to strengthen the Kidney energy and build the Qi are the low belly (Ren 4 and 6) and low back (Du 4 and UB 23) or the Stomach 36 point on the leg.moxibustion-therapy

There are very many preparations of moxa, and ways that it is used – directly on the skin as in Japanese (okyu or chinetkyu) moxa cones, or indirectly, as in a moxa stick held near the skin. Moxa sticks can be a traditional moxa sticky, which is smoky (see photo) or modern smokeless moxa sticks. Loose moxa can be used in a moxa pot on put on the belly or back. Also, either loose moxa cones or specialty smokeless moxa can be used on the top of the needle during an acupuncture treatment.

My two latest favorite ways to utilize moxa are with the moxa heat pack, which is self-heating and can be easily applied to the low belly or low back when you are resting at home, or on areas of soreness that benefit from warmth. Read more about the convenient moxa heat packs on my blogself-heating-moxa-packs-moxibustion-helio-medical-supply

The second way is Ontake, (Moxa in Motion), which is a cross between a moxa treatment and massage of the acupuncture channels. In this super cool technique, moxa is pressed into a section of bamboo and used like a massage tool on the skin. I’ll be writing more about that next!

Moxibustion is a traditional therapy that has always been used along with acupuncture; acupuncture in Chinese is actually acupuncture and moxibustion, Zhen Jiu. The earliest acupuncture and moxibustion texts books date back to the Han Dynasty in the 2nd century BCE, and there is evidence in the form of hieroglyphics that these modalities were being used together even further back (Shang Dynasty, 1600-1100 BCE). This ancient modality still remains an integral part of Traditional East Asian Medicine.


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