Moxibustion is another potent arm of Chinese medicine that is combined with acupuncture treatment and sometimes used independently. For Moxibustion, we use a specially prepared herb made of a type of mugwort (Artemesia vulgaris). We call the herb “moxa”. Small amounts of moxa are burned on or near the acupuncture point to be treated, creating localized warmth and imparting the medicinal properties of the herb to the acupuncture point.
Moxibustion is a soothing, effective, and time-honored tradition that is quickly losing ground in modern acupuncture offices where acupuncturists are being forced to move quickly from patient to patient in order to lower costs or satisfy insurance reimbursement guidelines. Moxa (the traditional herb) is quickly being replaced by modern heat lamps.
Moxibustion is an important part of acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine and its effects have been confirmed by modern research. From the Public Health section of the Kyushu University Medical School, Dr. Shimetaro Hara, M.D. published “the hematological effects of moxibustion,” outlining some of the proven health and immune system benefits of Moxibustion. Moxa was shown to boost immune function by increasing the number and activity of white blood cells. Moxibustion also affects the circulatory and lymphatic systems to raise all around immunity. It stimulates the adrenal gland, warming the body and fighting fatigue. It is effective at relieving pain, reducing anxiety and stress, and helps to clear congestion. In those who are weakened because of age, chronic stress, or disease, moxibustion builds vitality to support the body’s own healing capacity.
More specifically, moxibustion was shown to:
- Increase white blood cells.
- Increase the phagocytic activity of the white blood cells.
- Increase red blood cell and hemoglobin counts.
- Increase the sedimentation rate of red blood cells.
- Increase platelet count.
- Increase the speed of blood coagulation.
- Increase blood glucose.
- Increase blood calcium.
- Increase serum complements.
- Increase the capacity to produce antibodies to fight pathogens.
As an interesting aside, Dr. Shimetaro Hara was so impressed by the results of his research that he started practicing Moxibustion on himself. Dr. Hara lived to be 108. When he passed away on June 18, 1991; he was the oldest living Japanese man on record!