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Types of Moxa Stick Moxibustion

There are various types of moxibustion, which can usually be divided into direct and indirect moxibustion.

In direct moxibustion, a small amount of moxa cone is placed on top of key acupuncture points in the body and burned. Broken down further, the process can be either scarring or non-scarring. In scarring moxibustion, the moxa cone is ignited and allowed to burn out completely, causing scarring and blistering after the skin heals. In non-scarring moxibustion, the moxa cone is extinguished or removed so that it will not burn the skin. In both methods, The patients will feel a pleasant heating sensation that penetrates deep into the skin, although some traditional advocates of this therapy believe that the scarring method is more effective.

The more popular form of moxibustion is the indirect type because it comes with a lower risk for pain or burning. Among them, Moxa stick moxibustion is easy to operate and can be done at home according to medical advice. In indirect moxibustion, The acupuncturist applies a burning moxa stick vertically above a selected point/area without touching the skin so that moderate heat can be felt on the area. The suspended heating modes of moxibustion can be mild moxibustion, circling moxibustion, sparrow-pecking moxibustion, and back-and-forth moxibustion.

Mild Moxibustion

Keeping 2 – 3 cm between the burning moxa stick and the acupoint or affected body part, hold the moxa stick above the area until it feels hot but not painful. This further stimulates the channel qi and induces transmission.

Circling Moxibustion

Keeping 2 – 3 cm between the burning moxa stick and the spot receiving moxibustion, move the stick around the acupoint in a circle. Stop moxibustion when the patient feels the heat at the spot or when the spot becomes red. This warms the local qi and blood.

Sparrow-pecking Moxibustion

Like a bird pecking at the ground, move the burning moxa up and down above the skin. This deepens the sensitization of the place receiving moxibustion, laying a foundation for the activation of qi in the area and for channel qi transmission.

Back-and-forth Moxibustion

Keeping 2 – 3 cm between the burning moxa stick and the patient’s skin, move the moxa stick back and forth along a channel at an even pace until the patient feels heat along the line and the skin becomes red. This method dredges the channels and unblocks the collaterals to further activate channel qi.

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