Holistic medicine

Moxa therapy

Moxa therapy


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Moxa therapy, also called moxibustion or moxen, comes from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It is a kind of acupuncture that works with heat, and is therefore sometimes referred to as "warming". Traditional areas of application are above all complaints in which a blood circulation-promoting effect is desired. Circulatory disorders, rheumatism and other painful joint and bone diseases as well as headaches are included. Moxa is also said to be helpful for gastrointestinal complaints, kidney or bladder problems and respiratory problems.

There are now various studies on the effect of moxa on various symptoms. Nevertheless, moxa therapy is not yet fully recognized by conventional medicine and is still considered an alternative or complementary medicine method.

Note: If you would like to try out moxa therapy, please weigh up the chances and risks of moxa treatment in your individual case with your doctor.

Moxa treatment should only be carried out by experienced practitioners and not as self-therapy.

Moxa therapy: a brief overview

Here you will find a brief overview of moxa therapy.

  • description: Moxa therapy, also called moxibustion or moxen, comes from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It is a kind of acupuncture that works with heat and is therefore sometimes referred to as warming.
  • Different moxa variants: A distinction is made between direct moxing with skin contact and indirect moxing without skin contact. You can also use moxa herbs in different qualities (fine wool or coarse). There are numerous forms of application from the moxa cone to the moxa cigar to the moxa application over an acupuncture needle. In addition, various intermediate layers can be used between the skin and the burning moxa herb, for example made of ginger, garlic or healing earth. Which type of moxing is used depends on the individual symptoms.
  • application areas: Moxibustion can be helpful for diseases such as edema, bronchial asthma and other respiratory complaints, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal complaints, diseases of the genitourinary system, immune deficiency, poor circulation and exhaustion, headache, tension, rheumatism and other painful joint and bone diseases.
  • Contraindications: Moxa therapy must not be used in the area of ​​the eyes, neck, vaginal area, near varicose veins or other superficial vessels as well as on open wounds, skin diseases or irritated skin. The following should not be moxed:
    • Diabetes,
    • Neuropathies,
    • High blood pressure,
    • Fever,
    • Infectious diseases,
    • after heavy meals,
    • right after operations,
    • in alcoholized patients,
    • during menstruation,
    • for sleep disorders
    • or severe nervousness and restlessness.

    Pregnant women should never be treated in the abdomen area. Infants and young children are excluded from treatment. For children from school age, consultation with the treating pediatrician should be held beforehand.

  • Risks and side effects: Headache, sleep disorders, skin irritation and / or skin allergic reactions are possible. Improper use can result in burns and scarring.
  • Note: Moxa treatment should only be carried out by experienced practitioners and not as self-therapy. If you would like to try out moxa therapy, please weigh up the chances and risks of moxa treatment in your individual case with your doctor.

Moxa herb - mugwort herb

Mugwort herb (Latin "Artemisia vulgaris") is used in moxa therapy. The mugwort herb belongs to the daisy family and on the outside it is a rather inconspicuous phenomenon. Mugwort herb is said to have an antibacterial, antifungal, antispasmodic, blood circulation, calming, digestion and appetizing effect.

Historical review

Grave finds indicate that moxing was already used around 9000 to 4000 BC. Even then, people recognized that heat applications could have a positive effect on the body. The form of therapy continued to develop and is now an integral part of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). This is often a suitable application, especially for diseases in which those affected long for warmth. Added to this is the effect of the essential oils found in mugwort.

Nowadays moxing is mainly known in midwife practice. This therapy is used there to move a child in the breech position (breech end position) in the womb to rotate.

Basics of moxa therapy

In order to use Moxa, the therapist must first be clear whether this therapy is suitable in the present complaints. The TCM speaks of an empty and / or cold state. For example, a cold that is in the suit requires warmth, a hot tea is drunk in case of stomach ache, and if muscles hurt, the affected person puts a hot water bottle on the affected area. These are examples in which the use of moxa therapy could provide relief.

The supplied heat boosts the blood circulation, expels cold and wet, the lymph flows faster and pain-releasing substances can leave the tissue faster, where the pH value changes for the better.

Moxa treatment is said to stimulate self-healing powers. Negative, pathogenic energies are supposed to be made to escape from the body. From the perspective of traditional Chinese medicine, the Qi (life energy) is heated and brought to the individual organs via the meridians.

Moxa therapy is traditionally used for yin conditions or when there is too little of yang. Yin and Yang are two opposing principles, which, however, are not mutually exclusive, but complement each other and need each other. For example, Yin qualities include cold, emptiness, night, moon, femininity, moisture, whereas Yang embodies abundance, heat, day, sun, masculinity and dryness. Both yin diseases and yang deficiency desperately need warmth. If the patient already has too much heat in the body, it should not be moxed under any circumstances.

Application areas

Provided that there is a lack of heat and / or moisture and / or emptiness is the cause, moxibustion can be used to treat diseases such as edema, bronchial asthma and other respiratory complaints, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal complaints, diseases of the genitourinary system, immune deficiency, poor circulation and exhaustion , Headache, tension, rheumatism and other painful joint and bone diseases can be helpful.

Types of moxa

The mugwort herb used in moxa therapy is used in the form of cones, cigars, cones or as an open herb. Depending on the indication, the different types are used.

Direct moxing with skin contact

Moxing works with direct skin contact. This is a common method, especially in China. Cones are made from mugwort, placed directly on the skin and then burned there. This requires great responsibility and caution. The therapist should monitor the process carefully so that they can intervene at any time so that no burns occur.

The shaped mugwort cones have different sizes as required. They may be as small as a grain of rice or as large as a cherry.

Direct moxing without skin contact

This type of moxa treatment also uses individually shaped moxa cones. In contrast to direct moxing with skin contact, however, these are not burned directly on the skin, but are held on with tweezers. This method is safer and milder.

Indirect moxing with an intermediate layer of ginger

Moxing can be done with a wide variety of intermediate layers, which can reinforce or change the effect of the heat application. The various intermediate layers are selected depending on the illness or symptom. For example, slices of ginger or garlic can further enhance the effects of warmth and mugwort through the essential oils they contain.

According to TCM, it can be helpful for headaches to do a moxa application with ginger. A ginger slice is pierced several times and placed on the appropriate acupuncture point in the middle of the temples. Then the moxa cone comes on and is lit. From the perspective of traditional Chinese medicine, ginger is able to conduct cold out of the body and activate the Qi (life force). Other indications for the use of ginger are upper abdominal pain, weakness, loss of appetite and rheumatism.

A garlic liner creates a strong stimulus and is used in TCM for lymph gland inflammation, boils, chronic tonsillitis and back pain.

Indirect moxing with salt, healing earth, paper

Salt is especially useful when the belly button is moxed. This is then filled with salt, over it is moistened paper and the burning moxa cone. According to the TCM, this can be helpful for the desire to have children, pain in the gastrointestinal area, diarrhea, bloated stomach and irritable bowel syndrome.

Healing earth can also be used as an intermediate layer. This is mixed with a little water to form a solid paste and applied to the area to be treated. The burning cone comes over it. Healing earth is able to store the heat and then release it into the tissue. This is a method that is said to have a positive effect on water retention (edema) and boils.

The thermal effect can be easily mitigated with a paper liner. The paper takes some of the heat away from the heat so that a pleasant warmth can spread. Caution is advised because the paper could start to burn.

In the meantime, ready-made moxa hats are available in stores, which are provided with a paper-cardboard overlay and can be glued to the acupuncture points.

Moxa herb - qualities

Moxa herb in fine wool quality is responsible for a mild, cozy warmth and is used especially in sensitive areas as well as in chronic diseases.

In contrast, the rough quality gives off a more aggressive heat. This treatment is more suitable for more robust patients with less sensitive skin. The focus here is on the effect of the heat.

Moxa beads

Mugwort herb is used to form moxa beads, which are used in both direct and indirect processes.

Moxa cigar

Moxa cigar is most commonly used in moxa therapy. This means that the distance to the skin can be well controlled and also changed in order to dose the heat effect individually.

The moxa cigar looks like a thick cigar, only that it does not contain tobacco but rolled mugwort. The envelope of the cigar is made of fine, easily flammable paper. The moxa cigar is available in a wide variety of price categories and qualities.

For the treatment, the cigar is lit and placed in an airtight container after use. It can be used several times, cutting off the ashes before use. The smaller version is the moxa cigarette, the burning time of which is shorter.

Moxa needle

A small cone, consisting of mugwort, is attached to an acupuncture needle and then lit. During the treatment, the heat enters the body via the needle. It is very important that the process is supervised. A bowl and tweezers should always be ready.

Moxa box

This is a small box, mostly made of wood, which has a sieve-like bottom. It burns moxa herb. The moxa box is suitable for use on larger skin areas.

Moxen on acupuncture points

Appropriate acupuncture points are usually chosen for the moxa treatment depending on the symptoms. These special points are on so-called meridians; From the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), these are channels in which the life energy flows.

No therapy for self-treatment

Moxa therapy should always be carried out by an experienced therapist. Before treatment, a detailed discussion of the symptoms and their causes and circumstances (anamnesis) will determine whether Moxa is the right form of therapy.

This heat recovery requires experience, care and caution! Since fire is handled, the patient is never left alone, but is always monitored throughout the treatment.

When shouldn't be moxed

There are lists for the contraindications on which all acupuncture points are listed, which must never be moxed.

Moxa therapy must not be used in the area of ​​the eyes, neck, vaginal area, near varicose veins or other superficial vessels, as well as on open wounds, skin diseases or irritated skin.

Diabetes, neuropathy and high blood pressure should not be moxed. Moxing should also not be carried out for fever, infectious diseases, after heavy meals, directly after operations and in alcoholized patients, during menstruation, with sleep disorders or severe nervousness and inner restlessness.

Pregnant women should never be treated in the abdomen area. For children from school age, consultation with the treating pediatrician should be held beforehand.

Risks and side effects

Side effects such as headaches or sleep disorders can rarely occur after moxa treatment. Skin irritation and / or allergic reactions of the skin are also possible.

The extent to which smoke generated during moxa treatment can negatively affect lung function and health has also recently been discussed. However, according to the current study situation, this applies more if you are exposed to smoke frequently and over a longer period.

Improper use can result in burns and scarring. (sw, kh)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Susanne Waschke, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch

Swell:

  • Jiang, Nan & Xu, Dong-Sheng & She, Chen & Chen, Zhong-Jie & Cui, Jing-Jing & Wang, Jia & Wu, Zhong-Chao & Bai, Wan Zhu: Moxa-stick moxibustion activates mast cells of small intestine tissue in rats., in: Zhen ci yan jiu = Acupuncture research, 44 (8): 583-8, August 2019, ResearchGate
  • Ha, Lue & Yu, Mengyun & Yan, Zhiyi & Rui, Zhang & Zhao, Baixiao: Effects of Moxibustion and Moxa Smoke on Behavior Changes and Energy Metabolism in APP / PS1 Mice. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2019, hindawi.com
  • Rui, He & Han, Li & Liu, Ping & Hu, Hai & Yang, Jia & Cai, Hong & Huang, Chang & Wang, Lei & Liu, Juntian & Huang, Jian & Ha, Lue & Liu, Yaomeng & Wu, Jihong & Zhu, Maoxiang & Zhao, Baixiao. (2019). Lung Function Decline after 24 Weeks of Moxa Smoke Exposure in Rats; in: Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2019, hindawi.com
  • Shi, Yin & Guo, Yajing & Zhou, Jing & Wu, Luyi & Sun, Yi & Li, Tao & Zhao, Jimeng & Bao, Chunhui & Wu, Huangan: Herbs-partitioned moxibustion improves intestinal epithelial tight junctions by upregulating A20 expression in a mouse model of Crohn's disease; in: Biomedicine & pharmacotherapy; Volume 118, October 2019, sciencedirect.com
  • Xu, Huanfang & Zhao, Hong & Kang, Li-Ping & Huang, Shixi & Shi, Yin & Su, Wei & Han, Mingjuan & Wang, Wenyan & Wang, Chunyan & Zhang, Yuan & Guo, Lanping: Moxibustion using different habitat moxa floss for moderate to severe primary knee osteoarthritis: Study protocol for a three-armed randomized, double-blinded, sham-controlled trial; in: Trials, December 2018, springer.com


Video: Introducing Moxibustion (June 2022).