What Is Moxibustion Therapy? Benefits and Precautions

In moxibustion therapy, mugwort (a small spongy herb used to treat a number of health conditions) leaves are burnt close to the skin’s surface. Mugwort leaves are believed to fast track healing and recovery. A stick is used to apply heat to the affected area.

Why is Moxibustion Therapy Used?

Moxibustion therapy is used to correct breech presentations and relieve the symptoms of diarrhea, arthritis, urinary incontinence, atopic dermatitis, back pain, cancer and certain digestive problems.

Acupuncture therapists in Sonoma County believe that moxibustion therapy can improve blood quality, restore and balance Qi, and improve overall health.

What to Expect?

Moxibustion therapy can be delivered in two ways. Your therapist could either place the moxa cone on the treatment site and ignite one end, leaving it to burn slowly or place the cone on a paper-thin acupuncture needle and ignite it and strategically use it to transfer heat to the treatment site.

Many people prefer the first method as in this approach the burning moxa does not come into direct contact with the skin.

Some acupuncture therapists use an insulating layer of salt or garlic that is placed between the cone and the skin, while others ignite the moxa box and place it on the acupuncture point.


Moxibustion therapy might help restore and balance Qi. One study found that moxibustion therapy may help relieve the symptoms of chronic kidney disease by reducing serum creatinine, a waste product that impacts renal function.

A separate study found that moxibustion therapy can help reduce the severity and frequency of hot flashes in women who are postmenopausal. Studies are underway to establish the efficacy of the therapy in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease.

Moxibustion therapy may help with breech presentation-a condition in which the baby is positioned with its feet in the birth canal. A 2005 study found that moxibustion therapy can reduce the need for medical procedures required to correct breech presentation.


Moxibustion therapy is not for everyone. Before you give moxibustion therapy a try, consult your physician, if you are

  • Pregnant
  • Allergic to mugwort or smoke
  • On your period

It is important that you rely on a certified and registered TCM physician for administering this therapy. Several factors impact treatment outcome ranging from the way a patient is positioned to number of moxa cones used and time of moxibustion. Your therapist will consider all these factors when administering treatment.

To steer clear of side-effects, drink lots of water after each session. Avoid eating too much/too little or drinking alcohol before a session.

At Acupuncture Mama, we use the healing power of acupuncture to treat a number of health issues. We are committed to delivering patient-centered care. To learn more, call (707) 303-7200.

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