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The Sussex College of Chinese Massage & Acupuncture

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Woman being treated with acupuncture and moxibustion treatments

The Art of Moxibustion

Moxibustion is as old, and as much a part of Chinese medicine, as acupuncture and herbalism. Acupuncture and moxibustion go hand in hand though this is true more so in China and Japan than in the West. In fact, Chinese medical texts both ancient and modern refer to treating diseases with ‘acupuncture and moxibustion’, and the Chinese and Japanese characters for acupuncture contain the characters for moxibustion too. This illustrates the significance of the relationship between acupuncture and moxibustion as a combined method of treatment from a TCM point of view.

Traditionally, the material used for moxibustion is a plant called Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris). It was, and still is, renowned for its warming and moving properties. The dried plant when ground down and sifted, turns into a kind of wool-like texture called moxa wool. This can then be rolled and shaped into cones or sticks for burning. Nowadays though, it is more common to purchase and use ready-made moxa cones, sticks and wool from suitable acupuncture supply outlets.

There are various methods for the application of moxibustion. One method involves carefully placing a lighted cone on an acu-point. Another involves a moxa stick, as in the picture above. This is carefully moved at a distance over an acupuncture point or other area of the body. Moxa wool can also be attached to the top of acupuncture needles and lit. Each method has the effect of warming the area or acu-point and hence the qi of the relative channel.

Moxibustion Benefits

All forms of moxibustion encourage a ‘free flow’ (movement) of qi and blood in the channels and corresponding muscle regions. Moxibustion is therefore particularly beneficial for all conditions of stagnation related to cold and deficiency.

Moxibustion has been helpful in treating many conditions including;




Back Pain

Bronchial Disorders

Carpel Tunnel Syndrome

Chronic Fatigue




Chronic Cough

Chronic Common Colds




Frozen Shoulder

Frozen Shoulder

General Aches and Pains


Irritable Bowel Syndrome


Joint Pain

Muscle Tension




Sports & Traumatic Injuries


Tennis Elbow

Women’s Disorders (Gynaecological)

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