Frequently asked questions
Simple Tips on Moxibustion
1. Do not perform moxibustion for half an hour before and after meals. (An hour after a heavy meal)
2. Minimise contact with water for two hours after moxibustion. (Use hot water only if necessary)
3. Drink some warm water before, after, or even during moxibustion.
4. Avoid taking bath for at least four hours after moxibustion, hence, it is advisable to perform moxibustion after bath. Try to follow to this the sequence of soaking feet or scraping before moxibustion.
5. Each tin contains 20 pieces of mugwort with each having an effective time of 90 minutes. One side of the piece of mugwort has an effective time of 60 minutes whereas 30 minutes for the other side. After this stipulated duration, it is compulsory for you to change the mugwort, otherwise it will not work! (If you cannot remember the duration, you can tell from its colour, hardness and the scent). However, do not throw away the used piece pf mugwort as they serve many purposes and can be use in the bathwater for even children. For more details please refer to the attached link.
6. In addition, moxibustion should be performed on acupoints located on the top and then down, left and then right, back and then front. of our body.
*Before moxibustion, apply essential oil extracted from Mugwort leaves on acupoints for more apparent results.
*Duration of moxibustion for adults:
30-40 minutes per acupoint for the torso
15-20 minutes per acupoint for the limbs
* Duration of moxibustion for children:
15-20 minutes per acupoint for the torso
10-15 minutes per acupoint for the limbs
*Perform moxibustion on sites of discomfort or the Ashi acupoints for 60-90 minutes! When you are feeling unwell, you can extend the duration of moxibustion accordingly.
*It is not about the number of acupoints that you perform moxibustion on, it's more about the duration of moxibustion on each acupoint!
7. If you have time, try to perform moxibustion anytime from 7.00a.m to 9.00p.m. as it is believed that Yang Qi is strong in the daytime. However, when under time constraint, aim to finish moxibustion before 10:00p.m. When returning home late, we can perform moxibustion on our leg and feet for half an hour, examples of the acupoints to perform on are “Sanyinjiao”, “Taixi”, “Taichong” , “Yongquan” acupoints. The duration of acupoints can be extended according to the extent of pain experience in the site of moxibustion.
8. Please switch off the red light on the moxibustion machine while performing moxibustion on the eyes.
9. When performing moxibustion, try to relax your body and mind. The intensity of moxibustion should be increase gradually. Do not carry out moxibustion when under hunger, satiety, heavy drinking, thirst, sweating, excitement or extreme fatigue.
10. Please contact MoxaMoxa WhatsApp service account if any questions.
Benefits of Moxibustion
- 1. Release the exterior, dispel wind and cold pathogenic factors
Moxibustion provides warmth to the body, ridding it of both exterior wind-cold (symptoms: chills, cold limbs, cold and pain, craving warmth) and middle Jiao deficiency cold (symptoms: cold limbs, not thirsty, clear phlegm and runny nose, clear and long urination, loose stools etc). According to modern science, moxibustion allows capillaries to dilate and increase blood flow to the regional area, increasing metabolism and rate of healing as the area of injury receives more oxygen and nutrients.
- 2.Warm the channels, invigorate blood and unblock meridians
Qi, blood, Jing, Fluids are the basic materials of human life. They flow in channels called meridians in our bodies. If these meridians and collaterals have blockages (usually due to cold pathogenic factors), these raw materials that nourish our entire body cannot flow smoothly, causing conditions like headaches, body pain, joint pain, tummy aches, period cramps, strokes and paralysis, as well as lopsided facial features. Moxibustion energy enters the meridians through acupoints, clearing these obstacles and allowing qi, blood, jing and fluids to flow smoothly to all parts of the body again. In the words of modern science, moxibustion increases regional metabolism, hastening the process of waste removal by the body and subsequently inflammation can subside. At the same time, moxibustion can regulate the level of activity of the nervous system: calm the overly excited part of the nervous system and increase activity of semi-functioning nerves, thus reducing pain and numbness.
- 3. Raise Yang energy and Qi collapsing downwards
Yin-yang is the basis of life. When Yang reduces, Yin increases. Yin represents cold and death. When insufficient exterior Yang Qi is present to keep our pores close (not shut tight), our pores are wide open, allowing external pathogenic factors such as wind, cold, damp etc to invade the body, which results in ‘catching a cold’. If middle jiao Yang Qi is insufficient, in severe cases organ prolapse may happen. Pale face, cold limbs, profuse sweating and low blood pressure are also observed in such patients.
The warmth emitted by moxibustion can help hold and raise Yang Qi that is running out or collapsing. Research has shown that moxibustion improves the body’s ability to adapt and respond, improve tolerance to cold or harsh conditions, improve and maintain bodily functions. Hence, it is helpful for conditions such as spotting, loose stools, organ prolapse and weakness.
- 4. Clear stasis and stagnant knots, clear heat and toxicity
Stagnation and stasis are often caused by accumulation of cold or accumulation of phlegm damp due to qi blood insufficiency to metabolise materials in the body or blood stasis. Moxibustion can move Qi, clearing stagnation. Hence, it is useful for condition such as mastitis, tumour growth, swollen glands etc. Research has shown that moxibustion can help increase the amount of white blood cells (neutrophils in particular) and its ability to ingest and destroy microorganisms, reduce pus discharge. Hence, moxibustion dispels cold stasis, reduce swelling, boosts blood circulation, speed up recovery and healing process.
- 5. Prevent diseases, extend lifespan
The Book of Bian He states that during periods of good health, frequent moxibustion on acupoints Guan-Yuan, Qi-Hai, Ming-Men, Zhong-Wan can help one achieve longevity. Research shows that moxibustion on Zu-San-Li and Bai-Hui can help to reduce cholesterol, triglycerides, reduce clotting factors. Hence, moxibustion is a good way to prevent diseases, improve immunity, energy levels and extend lifespan.
- 6. Enhance beauty
In recent years, moxibustion is popular in cosmetic area. Facial moxibustion is used in many facial conditions such as acne, freckles, facial muscles spasm, facial paralysis, bell’s palsy etc. Body moxibustion also aids in weight loss, hair health, skin health etc. The mechanism lies in moxibustion’s ability to boost blood circulation, bring more nutrients to the skin, boost metabolism and allow beauty to shine inside out naturally. Healthy body, healthy glow!
How does moxibustion treat illnesses and improve health conditions?
Definition of moxibustion:
Moxibustion refers to the use of processed mugwort (moxa) on the acupoints, through burning, heating and local application to invigorate qi and blood, strengthen immunity and dispel pathogen.
How does it work?
1. Heat applied to local points causes increased blood flow to that particular area, dilation of capillaries. This improves local blood and lymphatic circulation, reducing muscle spasms and increasing rate of recovery by allowing waste products to be metabolised faster and thus inflammation subsides quicker. Moreover, the heat allows medicinal compounds to be absorbed faster into the body. Moxibustion also increases relaxing hormones in the brain, reducing activity of the sympathetic nervous system, reducing stress and pain.
2. Meridians. Meridian theory is an important part of Chinese Medicine. Meridians help to connect internal organs, bones, tendons, muscles, skin, blood vessels etc. Research and studies have shown that acupoints on skin surface have the following 3 unique properties:
- Acupoints are extra sensitive to medicinal compounds. Hence, doing moxibustion on acupoints vs on non-acupoint skin area will produce different effects.
- Acupoints can enhance the effects of medicinal compounds.
- Acupoints act as a point of storage for medicinal compounds, allowing their effects to last long.
3. Improve and regulate immune functions. Weakened immunity can be strengthened with moxibustion while over-reactive immune systems can be down-regulated. Moxibustion works both ways to bring the body back into balance.
4. Mugwort as the raw material for moxibustion. Mugwort is a powerful herb with impressive medicinal properties. In Qing Dynasty, it is documented that mugwort is Hot in nature, replenishes Yang energy, remove blockages in 12 meridians, soothe Qi and blood, remove cold and dampness, warm uterus, stop bleeding, regulate menses, protect fetus.
5. Holistic mechanism. The use of moxibustion also can produce different effects in different seasons. There is a saying “Winter illnesses requires Summer intervention”. You can also add other herbal ingredients during moxibustion to better target your condition, e.g. Bai-Jie-Zi on CV-17 (Dan-Zhong) to treat asthma. The choice of acupoints is also important in ensuring maximum effectiveness.
Why do we need Moxibustion?
Yang Qi is the basis of Life, it grows, moves, creates. As early as 2000 years ago, the Yellow Emperor Classic of Internal medicine stated that the body’s Yang energy is like the Sun in the sky—it is the reason why we have life on earth. Without Yang energy, metabolism stops and our life will cease to exist. Yang energy warms our body, allows for healthy metabolism, allows our heart to pump blood around the body and nourishes our organs, bones, muscles, tendons, skin etc.
However, Yang deficiency is getting more and more prevalent in our societies due to affluent lifestyles and associated lifestyle habits as such:
Prevalent usage of air conditioner, wearing revealing clothing (shorts, crop top, spaghetti straps etc), excessive consumption of ice cream, sorbet, watermelon, seafood and other cooling foods, especially in winter is a big nono.
All of these are using up our Yang energy unnecessarily, hastening the speed of aging and at the expense of our health. With reduced Yang energy, many illnesses arise and without yang energy, our hearts will come to a stop.
2.Mugwort is a plant that contains pure Yang energy, making it the most suitable material to replenish Yang energy.
According to the principles of traditional Chinese medicine, mugwort leaf has bitter, pungent and warm properties, and is associated with the Liver, Spleen and Kidney meridians. Its main functions are to warm the meridians and stop bleeding, and to dispel cold and stop pain. As mugwort grows on mountains facing the south receiving strong sunlight during its growth, and is harvested during the warmest period of the years at noon time, it is indeed a plant with strong Yang properties to heal.
10 types of people who should do moxibustion.
- 1.Working adults.
Working adults or students usually sit for prolonged periods of time, more than 8h a day. Hence, body aches and soreness are common. This is a sign of stagnant Qi and blood. Moxibustion can help to soothe Qi and blood flow to reduce body aches.
- 2.Night owls.
Staying up late takes a toll on the body. Those who stay up late find that their energy level decrease in the day as their Qi is unable to flow well.
- 3.People in sub-health state.
This type of people are very prevalent in our modern society. No major illnesses but experiences discomfort here and there on a daily basis, affecting your energy levels, and ability to thrive.
- 4.People who like to wear thin or revealing clothing.
When more skin is exposed, our body parts are more vulnerable to the invasion of cold pathogen, which causes conditions like cold hands and feet, joint pain, gynaecology conditions etc. Moxibustion can get rid of cold and dampness.
Moxibustion can help with skin issues such as acne, wrinkles, freckles etc.
- 6.People who cannot withstand cold temperatures.
Especially for women who have painful periods, periods with clots, irregular periods, cold hands and feet, moxibustion is very helpful.
- 7.Men with kidney deficiency
Men’s health is as important as women’s health. Sexual health is a reflection of kidney energy. Hence, by replenishing kidney energy with moxibustion, men can see improvements for conditions such as erectile dysfunction and duration.
Elderly who find it exhausting to walk even a short distance or have leg cramps often can benefit from moxibustion as these are all signs that the body is running out of Yang energy.
A child’s body constitution is formed before birth. If the child has digestive issues such as low appetite, indigestion, fall sick frequently, cough, they will benefit from moxibustion as moxibustion can strengthen their immunity and build up their body constitution to be stronger.
- 10.Healthy people
Prevention is better than cure. Maintain your health with moxibustion!
Why is moxibustion suitable for families and households?
1.Wide range or usage for various conditions.
Suitable for gynaecology conditions, pediatric conditions, andrology conditions, dermatology conditions, osteopathy conditions, ophthalmology conditions, ears, nose, throat conditions, etc. Moxibustion helps to build up righteous Qi in the body, improving immunity and ability to fight against pathogenic factors.
2.Convenient and no waiting time.
Moxibustion is a therapy available in some hospitals or clinics that offer traditional therapies. As it is easy to handle, patients can use moxibustion at the comfort of their own homes, as long as they know which acupoints are required and the optimal time to do it. Especially for those with chronic conditions like chronic enteritis or sleep related issues, it will be troublesome to go to the hospital frequently. Hence, by owning moxibustion devices at home, patients can do moxibustion themselves, saving time, money and reducing the hassle of travelling.
3.Easy to learn and handle.
Moxibustion therapy is easy to learn. Unlike acupuncture or medicinal prescriptions, many wellness centres or even people who have not studied tcm in depth can handle moxibustion with basic training. Of course, if you were to understand meridians, acupoints and basic Chinese medicine theory, it will be more effective.
4.Safe to use and save money.
As compared to acupuncture, moxibustion is much safer. Acupuncture involves an insertion of needles, which increases its risks of mishandling. For moxibustion, there are rarely side effects. You can also save medical fees with this stay-home therapy.
3 points to note after moxibustion.
Moxibustion, especially high intensity moxibustion, is a strong stimulus to the body that consumes a large amount of energy in order to unblock meridians and balance yin-yang. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure adequate rest and reduce unnecessary exertion. Even though it may be difficult due to the busy nature of our modern lives, the following basics should still be observed: avoid overworking and staying up late, control time spent surfing the Internet, playing games, watching TV and other entertainment. You should ensure 8-10 hours of sleep a day, adequate and high sleeping quality is the best way to resume life vitality. A moderate and balanced sexual life is important in conserving energy as well.
As the saying goes, “The Key to Life is exercise.” No therapy can replace exercise. However, the amount of exercise right after moxibustion should be reduced. Light exercises such as walking, punching, yoga, breathing are advised. Remember, consistency is key.
After moxibustion, because the meridians are unobstructed and metabolism increases, many people will experience fatigue and perhaps increase in appetite. However, it is important not to indulge in highly-processed, high-fat and sugary foods, such as fried foods, seafood, barbecue, dessert, etc. Stay away from tobacco, alcohol, spicy, raw and cold things. Keep your meals light and easily digestible and refrain from binge eating. It is also advisable to eat till you are 60-70% full. Dietary management is especially important for those elderly with 3 Highs – High Blood pressure, high blood sugar and high cholesterol.
All of us should be responsible for our own health!
Possible adverse effects and proper ways to deal with them.
Moxibustion is generally very safe and has almost no possible adverse effects. Even people who do not know moxibustion can carry out treatment without causing negative effects, thus moxibustion therapy can be used safely at home. Although adverse effect is rarely seen in moxibustion and occasional moxibustion sores can help improve the efficacy of moxibustion, the basic treatment methods to deal with adverse reactions arised should be understood.
(1)Causes of Fainting during moxibustion
- 1.Body Constitution (Main cause)
Weak body constitution, mental stress/nervousness, hunger, fatigue, especially people who are easily allergic, as well as people with instable vascular neurological functions. Do not carry out moxibustion when under hunger, satiety, heavy drinking, thirst, sweating, excitement or extreme fatigue.
- 2.Overstimulation due to high intensity moxibustion.
Strong or over stimulation of acupoints can cause fainting. What considers as overstimulation differs from people to people as each body’s tolerance level varies. Hence, if you are a beginner, start slow.
- 3.Upright Position
Generally speaking, fainting is more prone to occur with patients sitting in an upright position or when the moxibustion stick is pointing straight down perpendicular to the ground level.
- 4.Unconducive environment
Environmental and climatic factors can also cause patients to faint during moxibustion, such as low air pressure in a humid and hot season, turbid air in the clinic, noisy surroundings etc.
(2)What to do in the case of fainting during moxibustion?
In the course of moxibustion, if there is an incidental occurrence of low fever, fatigue, dry mouth or irritability, you can try to move the body and drink some warm water. If the patient has any discomfort as such, stop the moxibustion immediately and bring the patient to a place with good air circulation. Raise your legs, lower your head (without pillows), and lie still. If the patient is still unwell, drink more warm water or hot tea. In the case of severe discomfort, stop moxibustion and let them lie down (if the situation is urgent, let them lie directly on the floor). According to clinical experience, it will be helpful to massage or do moxibustion on Bai-Hui acupoint at the top of the head until the patient regains consciousness or feel better.
(Tip: After moxibustion treatment, it is best to ask the patient to leave after 5-10 minute rest in the clinic for observation.)
(1)Cause of moxibustion allergy
1.Body Constitution: Allergic reactions may arise for patients who are have many allergies towards various things such as pollen, medications, certain foods etc, have a medical history of asthma, rashes, eczema etc.
2.Specific medications used in moxibustion stick: Mugwort contains certain compounds that can induce allergic reactions in some.
(2)What to do in the case of moxibustion allergy?
The allergy rash (local or systemic) usually subsides within a few days after stopping moxibustion. During this period, you can take vitamin C, drink more water and if needed, do consult a doctor to get anti-histamine or required drugs. Corticosteroids, such as prednisone, can be appropriately applied when symptoms such as fever, severe itching, dry mouth, dysphoria, etc arises (20 ~ 30mg a day/dosage prescribed by doctor). In severe cases, please go to the hospital for treatment.
Traditionally, open blisters are part of moxibustion treatment for certain conditions. However, it is not a must to form blisters to achieve desired outcomes.
(1)Reasons why blisters may form during moxibustion
1. High heat.
2. Scratching of blisters and accidentally tearing it.
(2) Prevention of blisters and what to do if they form
Go slow, control the duration and intensity of moxibustion. If blisters form unfortunately, maintain hygiene around the wound. Small blisters do not require draining and can be resolved on its own within 5-8 days. Do not scratch the blisters even if they itch. For large blisters that require draining, do so using a sanitised needle/pricking tool. Afterwards, apply ointment and wrap in gauze until the wound heals. In the case where pus forms, clean the wound with disinfectant and allow the wound to be kept dry in order to heal faster.
What if I feel heaty after moxibustion?
Symptoms of heatiness after moxibustion includes: dry mouth, red swollen gums, dizziness, fever, sore throat, constipation etc. And the reason for this is: Moxibustion replenishes Yang energy, causing the body to be in a heaty state for the time being. This is a normal sign and there is no need to worry about it.
To prevent this from happening, we can take the following measures:
1.Control the duration and intensity of moxibustion according to one’s own level of tolerance. You can control intensity by changing the distance between moxa head and your skin.
2.Choose good quality moxa. Poor quality moxa material tends to induce more heatiness in the body.
3.Have adequate hydration. Moxibustion increases metabolism and circulation, causing higher rates of fluid loss. Hence, increase your fluid intake after moxibustion.
4.Have adequate rest. If heat reaction is severe, do the treatment on alternate days. If heat reaction is not severe, daily moxibustion can continue as the body learns to adapt with new source of energy.
5.Adopt a cooling diet.
X Spicy, fried, heaty foods, alcohol.
V Mung bean porridge/soup
V Lotus leaf porridge/lotus seed soup
V Hawthorn (to help with digestion), Chinese Yam (to build up Spleen Qi)
V Bitter gourd
V Tea blend: Mulberry leaf (Sang Ye) + licorice (Gan-Cao) + cogon grass (Bai-Mao-Gen) + Ophiopogon Root (Mai-Dong)
6.Do moxibustion on KI3 Tai-Xi, KI6 Zhao-Hai, KI1 Yong-Quan to draw the heat downwards and replenish Yin to restore internal balance.
Symptoms of recovery from illnesses after moxibustion (including seemingly ‘adverse’ reactions)
- Signs of illness recovery after moxibustion
Moxibustion is a simple and effective treatment method in Chinese medicine to prevent and treat diseases, prolonging lifespan and increasing quality of life. However, not everyone will have the same post-moxibustion reactions. Some people will experience very obvious effects, others experience quick recovery and others, slow. How strongly you feel moxibustion heat penetrating generally reflects the degree of blockage of the meridians. Strong moxibustion sensations indicates that the meridian is unblocked, hence the effect is immediate; the lack of moxibustion sensation does not mean it is ineffective, but indicates that the meridian contains a lot of accumulated blockages, it takes some time to clear the stasis and disperse the resistance, hence the effect will be slower. Let’s take a look at possible post-moxibustion reactions that reflects recovery.
1.Sweating: Whole-body or local. It shows that the body is weaker and colder. As moxibustion heat penetrates, it replenishes Yang energy and drives cold pathogen out. Continue with moxibustion for a few more times until cold pathogen is completely driven out.
2.Itch: Wind pathogen and dampness is being driven out.
3.Tremor: There is obstruction in the liver meridian.
4.Cool or gusty or numb feeling on feet, neck, shoulders or other body parts: moxibustion energy is expelling cold and wind pathogens in the respective body areas.
5.Feeling heat travelling down the tummy or leg: Replenishing cold body constitution with warmth.
6.Blisters: Expelling dampness from regional area. Small blisters will resolve on its own in a few days to a week while big blisters may require professional draining and disinfecting (refer to “Possible adverse effects and proper ways to deal with them”)
7.Regional rash: This form of rash is a sign that the body is expelling dampness or toxins, will resolve on its own after 2-3 days fret not.
8.Wound has itch, redness, swelling, pupation: damp heat or damp cold expelling from the body.
9.Do not feel moxibustion warming sensation: Either your meridians are heavily obstructed or your body is very healthy.
10.Diarrhoea after moxibustion: Detox reaction.
11. Constipation: Heaty body constitution that receives too much heat or Qi Blood deficient body constitution.
12.Waist pain/soreness: When the body receives sufficient energy and pathways are unblocked, pain can then be felt by the body on injured parts that were once numbed due to the severe blockage of the meridians.
13.Dizziness and insomnia: Excess Qi and Blood flowing upwards to the head.
14.Change of period cycle (lengthen/shorten): regulation by the body with sufficient energy. Need not worry, continue with moxibustion.
15.Patients with Breast hyperplasia condition may experience pain or what we call as “ant crawling” sensation. Pain is a sign of stasis clearing, while crawling sensation is a sign of Qi and Blood moving to dispel toxins.
16.Feeling heaty/inflammatory symptoms: Detox reactions. When the body has excess energy to push out toxins/stuck pathogens, the body experiences a temporary state of inflammation. Continue to do moxibustion until detox reactions clear.
- Why do my ill symptoms become more obvious after moxibustion?
It depends on the type/severity of illness you are suffering from as well as your body constitution. When the body has sufficient energy to clear out toxins and fight against pathogens, discomfort is normal. Otherwise, you may consult a professional if you are unsure of your situation.
Reactions after moxibustion and why they occur.
Different bodies will react differently. Some react positively, while some may exhibit seemingly ‘negative’ effects such as irregular menses or worsening of previous condition. However, this can be a sign that the new burst of energy provided by moxibustion is helping the body to fight and expel pathogenic factors. If moxibustion is continued, you will see unexpected good results! Here are some of ‘negative’ effects and what they represent:
1.Nothing: Or feel superficial heat. This shows that the meridians have blockages which are not allowing heat to pass through and go deep.
2.Half of the body feeling hot: Usually top or bottom. The meridians in the other half which does not feel the heat have more blockages present.
3.Not feeling hot after feeling very hot at the start: Normal reaction. Body has adapted and gotten use to the heat level, you can proceed to increase moxibustion intensity.
4.Heat spreading: Some people can even feel the heat spreading all the way down to the Hui-Yin acupoint located near the private areas. This shows that the moxibustion heat is successfully going through the entire Ren Meridian and clearing any blockages present. Some people feel the heat spreading from their tummies to the back and upwards to their Bai-Hui, downwards to Yong-Quan. This is a good sign that the meridians are clear or are being cleared of blockages.
5.Cold: Feel body emitting wind or cold airy feeling. This type of people usually have cold body constitution, and should do more moxibustion.
6.Movements or sensations along meridians in the body: Moxibustion sensations are usually a form of sizzling energy in the body, which may feel weird to some. Some people feel a hot wave forming in the lower abdomen, which can move around the body with willpower. Some areas that this wave move across may be sore, numb or painful, just like practising Qigong.
7.Sweating: You should sweat a little after moxibustion, especially on the forehead, palms and soles of feet. If one sweats a lot after moxibustion, it shows that his/her body constitution is weak. Palms or soles of feet producing cold sweat before hot sweat shows that the body is expelling cold pathogenic factor. If sweating continues after moxibustion, it shows that the body has a lot of dampness in it. Moxa produces a pure form of Yang energy, hence it has the ability to dispel cold and dampness.
8.Feeling heavy: Heaviness in the chest or limbs shows that Qi and Blood circulation is poor in the body. In this case, all the more you should do moxibustion.
9.Intestinal movement or passing gas: Moxibustion energy is increasing intestinal motility and helping the body to get rid of wind, reducing bloating.
10.Oil on front and back of waist: This shows high cholesterol, higher amounts of waste material and unhealthy blood viscosity.
11.Dry mouth and sore throat: If you feel extra thirsty after moxibustion, this is a classic sign of imbalance distribution of heat in the body (upper excess and lower deficiency). Suitable acupoints: Lao-Gong, Yong-Quan to nourish Yin and reduce deficiency fire. It is also advised to drink more water in the meantime. Alternate guasha, cupping and moxibustion treatments. To ease sore throat, you can do moxibustion on Tian-tu, Qu-chi, He-Gu, Zhao-Hai.
12.Flushed cheeks: After moxibustion, the skin becomes red and vibrant. Persist and you will see improvements in acne, freckles and be rewarded with beautiful skin.
13.Feeling sore or pain, fatigues even in the day: After moxibustion, if the body has aches and pains, it means that there is presence of wind-dampness, toxins in the body which needs to be pushed out with more moxibustion. If you feel excessive fatigue, it means your body constitution is too weak (Qi and blood deficiency) to handle a sudden increase in blood circulation. Continue to rest enough after moxibustion for a few times and it will ease off.
14.Not breathing well, heavy head, mood swings: This shows that the heart is weaker, unable to pump hard enough to meet increased demand for faster circulation and the blood is thicker.
15.Lower back soreness and changes in urination: Kidney areas at the back feel sore, cold, urine volume increases, urine colour changes. These are signs that the patient has kidney qi deficiency.
16.Yellow fluid or blisters on belly button: After moxibustion, if the belly button produces yellow watery discharge, it means that the patient may have gynaecological concerns (for females), or cold-damp in the digestive track. In severe cases, a round of hard skin may form around the belly button.
17.Changes in vaginal discharge: If vagina itches, vagina discharge increases, vaginal odour changes or blood clots appear, fret not for it is a process of the body expelling dampness in the lower jiao.
18.Changes in menses: Cycles may shorten or lengthen, fret not for hormonal fluctuations is temporary as the body is trying to adjust to an optimal state. Spotting or the appearance of blood clots are also signs that the body is trying to get rid of stagnated blood in the womb, which will disappear once the stagnated blood is cleared. This whole process of regulating menses last about 3 months.
19.Rashes, hives, eczema: This shows that the patient has a lot of accumulated toxins in the body and in the blood. All the more one should do moxibustion to detox.
20.Cough and yellow phlegm: This shows that there is excess lung fire. If the body does not adapt well to this rate of moxibustion, reduce intensity and frequency to allow the body to slowly accept before proceeding to a higher intensity.
21.Hyperactivity, insomnia, headache and fatigue: Patient has a heaty body constitution, have excess heat in the upper jiao. It is advised to do Guasha at the back to give an outlet for heat to escape from the body. When necessary, do consult a professional to do blood letting on Da-Zhui acupoint. If patient is at home, get him/her to lie down and ensure ventilation of the room, massage the neck and drink more water.
22.Joint pain: coldness and dampness accumulated in the joints.
23.Ulcer, constipation and acne: Excessive stomach fire. Do more guasha on stomach meridian and eat foods that are cooling in nature such as mungbean.
24.Diarrhoea, vomiting, nausea: These are signs that the Spleen and Stomach has taken on too much coldness and dampness. Increase moxibustion intensity and you will observe improvements.
25.Burping: Stagnated Qi in the digestive track. Will resolve on tis own, no further action needed.
26.Dispelling wind and cold reactions: According to clinical studies, many patients have wind-cold expelling reactions manifested in symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, low fever, sore throat, joint pain, farting etc, or feeling unusually cold to the extent of covering the body in blankets even though temperature remains normal. This usually lasts about 1 day to a month, depending on the person.
27.Soothe liver and clear stagnation reactions: Mood swings, irritability, increased emotional sensitivity, grief or sadness, together with physical symptoms such as burping, farting and pain or soreness in the liver and gallbladder area. This reaction can last about 1-3 days, with minority experiencing this change is emotional state lasting months.
28.Phlegm damp clearing reactions: Vomiting, coughing, increased phlegm, loose, sticky stools and increased bowel movements, water retention, difficulties in passing urine, sticky sweat in regional or whole body area.
29.Expelling heat toxins reactions: Fever, rashes, regional swelling, eczema with severe itch, hot urine or bowels. Fret not, you will recover after the body is done with detoxification.
30.Invigorating blood and clearing blood stasis reactions: Stagnation in more superficial areas will clear in the form of skin discolouration patches. Stagnation in the digestive track will clear in the form of dark brown or black stools. Stagnation in heart and lungs will clear through bloody phlegm or blood clots. Stagnation in the womb will clear through menstruation. People with haemorrhoids may observe blood in stools temporarily.
31.Sleep related reactions: Most people will experience changes in sleep after moxibustion. In the first stage, you can feel weak and fatigue, followed by insomnia for a few days. Some people experience the opposite way. Regardless of which, sleep will return to a normal state eventually.
32.Heat/fever reaction: Fever is a complicated phenomenon that will only appear after the body has healed completely and has sufficient Qi and blood to put up a fight against pathogenic factors. High fever (39-40 DC) reactions should last around one week while low fever (37.5-38) reactions should last about 10 days to 2 months.
33.Worsening of condition reactions: This is a normal reaction when our righteous Qi fights against pathogenic factors. As we accumulate more Yang energy, our righteous Qi will be even stronger to fight more easily, allowing this ‘worsening’ reaction to reduce in intensity overtime.
34.Moxibustion sensation reactions: Sometimes when doing moxibustion on the stomach, your can feel discomfort in the liver or stomach region. Some may feel discomfort in private areas when doing moxibustion on guan-yuan. This signifies that patient has underlying conditions for respective organs. Moxibustion is helping you to correct that imbalance as energy flows into the body through meridians. (Our body has a self-healing mechanism and a cyclical nature of Yinand Yang. As long as we give it enough energy, it will do what it is supposed to do to self-heal.)
35.Repeated relapse of illness reactions: Even though the symptoms may come back a few times, but each time it should be less intense than the previous time. Haemorrhoids may change from being internal to external, recovery takes about 10 to 15 days. Do continue to do moxibustion to ensure full recovery.
Tip: Moxibustion treatment requires a sustained prolong period of time and frequency to reap its full benefits. Do not give up!
How do I judge my own illness recovery from moxibustion sensations?
During moxibustion, Qi in the meridians is stimulated by Moxa Heat. When sufficient Qi flows to the place of obstruction or where pathogen resides, the body can then have enough strength to dispel these toxins. In the process, some sensations may occur. These moxibustion sensations can be concluded into 7 types:
1.Thorough heat: Heat penetrates from surface of skin straight into inner layers of the body, even as deep as organ sites.
2.Ripple heat: Heat spreading out evenly from moxibustion site
3.Spreading heat: Heat spreading towards other body parts far away from moxibustion site
4.Not hot at moxibustion site but feeling heat at other body parts
5.Not hot at the surface of moxibustion site but feeling heat at layers deep into the body, even as deep as organ sites.
6.Other than heat, moxibustion sensations can also be numbness, soreness, heaviness, pain, and even chills. (local or widespread) -> Ideal stage as moxibustion energy accumulates enough to expel stuck pathogens, clear stasis and remove blockages.
Moxibustion sensations can travel to other parts of the body as the Yang Energy flows within meridians that run across the body. The presence and degree of moxibustion sensation reflects how clear the meridian pathways are. The better the energy is able to move along meridians, the stronger the moxibustion sensations. If moxibustion sensation is absent, it means there is stasis present, blocking proper energy flow. Hence, more time and dedication is needed for stasis to be cleared first before you can feel the moxibustion sensations.
The higher the intensity, duration and frequency of the moxibustion treatment, the stronger the moxibustion sensations. Those with higher sensitivity and receptivity will experience stronger moxibustion sensations too. Under a warm, peaceful environment, if the patient also has hydrated skin and a focused mind, moxibustion sensations will come faster and stronger. Vice versa.
Stages of moxibustion sensation:
1.Moxibustion heat travels along meridians. You will feel warm at this stage.
2.When the body acquire sufficient energy to fight against different pathogenic factors that may be present in your body, you may feel soreness, numbness, heaviness, pain.
3.At the last stage, when pathogenic factors are being successfully dispelled, you may feel cold or windy.
Why is your moxibustion treatment not as effective?
The Chinese character ‘灸’ is made up of two individual characters: ‘久’ (long) and ‘火’ (fire), which means providing sustained heat. Some people can take a few sessions to see improvement while some take half a year or even one year. There are a few reasons for this:
1.Location of affected area.
The nearer the affected part is to the skin surface, the easier it is to treat with moxibustion. Meridians are easier to treat than organs, fu-organs are easier to treat than zang-organs. This is because if the pathogenic factors are stuck in the meridians and collaterals, moxibustion can help unclog and unblock them. However, if the pathogenic factors have already reached the fu-organs (bladder, stomach, gallbladder, large intestine, small intestine, triple energizer aka sanjiao), other than unclogging meridians, we will also need to regulate the fu-organs to optimise their abilities. If the pathogenic factors reach even deeper into the zang-organs (lungs, heart, liver, kidney, spleen), it will take an even longer time to detox, regulate, build and optimise.
2.Severity of illness, whether it has taken in form or not.
If the illness has taken form in physicality, meaning for example, tumour growth, changes in organ lining, stomach ulcers etc, it will take more than just a few sessions to see improvement. Especially for aging related degenerative conditions, you will need to be committed to the treatment process, which can stretch from a few months to a few years.
3.Duration of illness
The longer the illness from its onset, the harder it is to treat. Early treatment will guarantee better and faster results.
The stronger your body constitution, the faster you can feel better.
Our mental and emotional state have an impact on our physical health as psychological wellbeing and physical wellbeing goes hand in hand. If one is often angry, sad, anxious, insecure, paranoid, these will affect various organ functions (for example, grief affects the lungs, anger affects the liver, fear affects the kidney, paranoia affects the spleen). High blood pressure is one of the illnesses that is associated with excessive stress and anger. If one has a positive mindset and attitude, in a healthy pleasant emotional state, he/she can maximise the effectiveness of moxibustion as the body receives this good form of energy fully.
We have a body clock that follows meridian timings. Qi will flow in different meridians during different times of the day, in its cyclical nature. So people who burn midnight oil, wake up late, have irregular meals etc use up a lot of their Qi reserves. This is just like a wooden pail with a hole at the bottom, no matter how much water you pour in, it will never fill up as water keeps leaking out.
-Overactive sexual life is also very taxing on the Jing (source of life), causing effectiveness of moxibustion to reduce.
-Unhealthy diet such as overconsumption of meat and cold drinks will also impair the effectiveness of moxibustion as these will hurt the spleen and stomach, hampering digestion. Meat and oily foods can cause accumulation of Phlegm damp, which is the main pathogenic factor causing tumour, inflammatory conditions, clogged arteries and meridians, poor blood circulation. Cold also causes fluid flow to stagnate, resulting in poor blood circulation and subsequently poor metabolism.
7.How well you understand moxibustion.
Understanding a treatment is a crucial step for it to work. Moxibustion is a treatment that replenishes Yang energy to start the body’s self-healing mechanism. If the patient do not understand what are detox reactions, or the correct order of moxibustion treatment, he /she will be easily put off by the ineffectiveness and proceed to do other treatments such as taking conventional medications which are cold in nature, further damaging the body and suppressing its ability to self-heal.
Factors that affect effectiveness of moxibustion.
1.Quality of material (Mugwort) and Moxa (final product).
2.Intensity of moxibustion treatment.
3.Acupoints. Different acupoints produce different effects when stimulated. Hence, it is important to choose the correct acupoints suitable for your condition.
4.Duration and frequency of moxibustion. Treatment time should ideally be longer (adjusted according to each’s tolerance level), and frequency has to be ensured for desired outcome. For example, once daily, once every two days, or thrice per week. Consistency is key.
5.Presence of moxibustion reaction or sensation such as hot, crawling, numbness, tingling etc.
6.The order of moxibustion across the body. Do moxibustion in the order from top to bottom, back to front, head to limbs, yang meridians before yin meridians.
Conditions that are prohibited from moxibustion:
1. Conditions that are deemed heaty in Chinese medicine such as high fever, extremely high blood pressure, late stage tuberculosis, acute infectious diseases.
2. Severe anemia, large amount of blood in vomit or poop.
3. Women during pregnancy and menstruation are not allowed to perform moxibustion on the abdomen, lower back, nipple and vaginal areas.
4. Severe skin allergies, overly hungry or full, heavy perspiration, drunken state and severe fatigue.
5. Moxibustion needs to be exercised with caution for patients who have undergone surgeries with implants such as pacemaker or metal, patients with severe diabetes, as well as areas near the large arteries.
Do not perform moxibustion when you are extremely:
- Hungry, full, drunk, thirsty, emotionally instable, fatigue and perspiring heavily.