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Arizona Research Institute of Acupuncture and

Chinese Herbal Medicine

How Does moxibustion work scientifically? 

The simple answer is that meridians are like optical fibers that transmit infrared radiation. Read full article here. 


Moxibustion is used along with acupuncture, but it can be used by itself as a form of treatment by applying heat to points or certain locations on the body.  Moxibusion is an herb called Artemisiae Argyi Folium or mugwort.  It can be made into loose moxa, a roll, a cone or in charcoal smokeless pieces and has many uses.   The classification of moxibustion is used in 5-8 different ways. 

Moxibustion can be applied directly on a certain point and lit to produce scarring.  This method can produce a local burn and blisters and heal.  This treatment is done about 5-10 times on the same point. This is called a direct or scarring method. 


Indirect moxibustion is to create a cone from loose moxa and place it on a piece of fresh ginger with holes punctured and placed on a point.  The ginger is a barrier to prevent burning the skin and garlic slices can be used as well. 

Moxibustion with salt is another method and is usually applied to the umbilicus or along the spine. 

Moxa is used by the practitioner on specific points of the body where patients are not able to reach of part of their treatment plan, or patients can use moxa sticks to provide their own therapeutic treatments, which is often used today.  The self treatments with moxa sticks is used with two methods, sparrow-pecking where the moxa is rapidly pecked over the point without burning the skin or mild-warm moxibustion with the stick  over a certain point and is easy to control the heat.