Moxibustion uses heat to warm acupuncture points. The moxa (dried mugwart, a medicinal herb) is lit and burns like incense. The combination of the heat and the medicinal qualities of the moxa stimulates circulation and balances the flow of qi. The practitioner lights a cigar-like stick of moxa and holds it near the skin until that area is warm. Variations include small sticks of moxa in a barrier or “pot” that is laid on the skin, or molded moxa placed on the needle.
Ai Ye (ah-yeah) or mugwort is a Chinese herb that is the main ingredient in moxa. Moxibustion is a traditional medicine technique that predates the acupuncture needle. In the HuangDi NeiJing it states "People who appear physically sound but who are depressed or bitter often develop conditions in the channels and colleterals. One would use acupuncture and moxibustion to treat this."
Moxibustion uses heat to warm acupuncture points, and can be done during an acupuncture treatment or as a stand-alone treatment in conjunction with the needles. The moxa (dried mugwart, a medicinal herb) is lit, and burns like incense. The combination of the heat and the medicinal qualities of the moxa stimulates circulation and balances the flow of qi. Pictured, small sticks of moxa in a barrier or “pot” that is laid on the skin.
Here are multiple forms of moxa. Top right is a photo of the 5 stick moxa & pot. Left side photo are sections of rolled moxa that can be placed on the ends of acupuncture needless. Bottom right photo are moxa sticks, about the thickness of a cigar that are lit and held near an acupuncture point.
This is a great treatment photo showcasing the mixa smoke that will travel over specific points or acupuncture channels. You can see the smoke linger around needled acupuncture point CV6.
Here is a photo of the patients belly button (acu point CV8) after the moxa pot has been removed. Acupuncture points CV6 & CV4 are needled. There is still lingering smoke, and the dark residue easily wipes off after.